Is your Samsung TV watching you?; Origin Energy fined $325,000 for misleading customers: Midday Roundup

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Samsung has squashed concerns over its privacy policy, which appears to suggest the company’s smart TVs could be recording conversations users have in front of their devices, according to the Guardian.

The Korean tech giant includes a warning to customers to not discuss “personal” or “sensitive” information in front of its Smart TV, which include voice recognition technology.

The Samsung privacy policy warns: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of voice recognition.”

The third-party mentioned is thought to be Massachusetts-based voice recognition company Nuance, according to the Guardian.

An activist for San Francisco-based advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation brought the privacy policy to light, comparing it to George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Samsung told the Guardian that the fears were overblown and that the company “does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties”.

Origin Energy fined $325,000 for misleading customers

Energy provider Origin Energy and two of its subsidiaries have been hit with a $325,000 fine in the Federal Court of Australia for misleading customers about the level of discount they would receive under its DailySaver energy plan.

In 2013, Origin told consumers in South Australia via its website and confirmation packs they would receive a discount of up to 16% off their energy usage charges for electricity and up to 12% off charges for natural gas.

The court found the representations were false or misleading because the rates used to calculate charges under the DailySaver plan were higher than the rates under the subsidiaries of standard retail contracts. As a result, those who signed up to the plan effectively received a reduced discount.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which brought the action before the court, said false and misleading representations by energy retailers are a priority are for the watchdog.

“We will continue to take appropriate action against energy retailers who engage make false or misleading claims to consumers, particularly where those claims concern discounts or pricing,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

Shares down on open

Aussie shares have traded lower this morning, following losses on Wall Street overnight.

According to Andrew West, director of Quay Equities, the sluggish start to today’s trading is the result of a combination of “a weak Wall Street lead, as issues again arose regarding Greek debt”, the ongoing political instability in Canberra, and profit taking.

“Across the market, the major lag was the financial stocks with most profits taken in NAB (-1.08%) and Westpac (-0.94%),” West said.

“The financial sector has actually seen 15 consecutive days of gains and given that the Commonwealth Bank reports tomorrow, no doubt investors are booking profits before tomorrow’s event.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 19.9 points to 5795 points at 12.05pm AEDT. On Monday, the Dow Jones closed 95.08 points lower, down 0.53% to 17729.2 points.

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Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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