Samsung has responded to accusations its Smart TVs are listening into personal conversations and sending data to a third party, telling users they have the option to opt out of the technology in question.
Higgins compared the technology to George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and questions were raised about who the “third party” was.
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Samsung got on the backfoot quickly, saying the third party was in fact Nuance Communications, the company behind its voice recognition technology and the data was used to improve the service.
Samsung said users have the choice to activate or deactivate the voice recognition function on their TVs.
If a user chooses to activate voice recognition, then “some interactive voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service provider (currently, Nuance Communications, Inc.) that converts your interactive voice commands to text and to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you”.
“In addition, Samsung may collect and your device may capture voice commands and associated texts so that we can provide you with Voice Recognition features and evaluate and improve the features,” said the company.
“Samsung will collect your interactive voice commands only when you make a specific search request to the Smart TV by clicking the activation button either on the remote control or on your screen and speaking into the microphone on the remote control.”
The company has since altered the paragraph in the original privacy statement.