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Full Version: Orwell and Samsung - Smart TV's now listen to your every word, and share them
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People should get off their lazy backsides and fight this to the death by firstly boycotting all Samsung products. Make them technically remove the ability -not just reverse the corporate decision to collect this information and share it.

I own Samsung TV's and am off to do exactly this now. I'll never buy another one again.

Quote:Samsung smart TV policy allows company to listen in on users

[Image: samsungTVs-v2.jpg]

Policy has been compared to George Orwell's 1984


Monday 09 February 2015

The new privacy policy for Samsung's smart TVs allows the company and its partners to listen in on everything their users say.

The policy has drawn the ire of internet users, who compared it with George Orwell's dystopian fiction 1984.
While voice recognition software almost always transmits data on what users are saying so that the job of decoding it can be done by quicker computers elsewhere the combination of sending the data to third-parties and the comparison with Orwell has meant that the Samsung policy has drawn particular attention.
The policy states: "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."
It makes clear that the tool can be turned off through settings, though that will stop the voice recognition working entirely and Samsung will still continue to collect data about how people use the TV.
"While Samsung will not collect your spoken word, Samsung may still collect associated texts and other usage data so that we can evaluate the performance of the feature and improve it," the policy states.
I'd do that too if I had one and will never buy one of course now I know. It is all very well to have the technical ability to do this but it should only be an opt in system. That they expect people to actually pay thousands of dollars/pounds to have Samsung's (and others for sure) uninvited trespassing entity sneak into people's homes and family life says how contemptuous of us they are. And of course they would have no trouble selling all this valuable data and even handing it over for free if asked by the wrong authority. No doubt their lawyers have already set it up that you 'give Samsung permission' when you purchase and operate their tv or at least have exempted them from any liability from their use of your data.

David Guyatt Wrote:People should get off their lazy backsides and fight this to the death by firstly boycotting all Samsung products. Make them technically remove the ability -not just reverse the corporate decision to collect this information and share it.

I own Samsung TV's and am off to do exactly this now. I'll never buy another one again.

Quote:Samsung smart TV policy allows company to listen in on users

Policy has been compared to George Orwell's 1984
Zerohedge's take on this. I was surprised and disappointed by the weak comments made by the spokesperson from The Daily Beast. This goes way beyond just being worried about who the third party may be. This is completely about ensuring that your home life privacy is sacrosanct and not ever up for grabs by corporate goons.


A Very Slippery Slope: Yes, Your Samsung Smart TV Can Listen To Your Private Conversations

[Image: picture-5.jpg]
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/09/2015 20:25 -0500

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
The biggest story in the tech world today is the revelation that Samsung's Smart TV can and will listen to your conversations, and will share the details with a third party. Yes, you read that right. Here's the actual language from the privacy policy itself:

"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."
Naturally, this has freaked people out and led to multiple comparisons to 1984 and the ubiquitous Big Brother. It was framed exceptionally well by EFF activist Parker Higgins in the following tweet:
Left: Samsung SmartTV privacy policy, warning users not to discuss personal info in front of their TV Right: 1984
Parker Higgins (@xor) February 8, 2015
[Image: Screen-Shot-2015-02-09-at-11.21.39-AM.jpg]
While the privacy policy statement is disturbing in its own right, the extent of how creepy it is has to do with the fact that this information will be shared with a "third party." This begs the question, who is this third party? Corynne McSherry, the intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has some thoughts. From the Daily Beast:

Judging by the privacy policy, it seems Samsung is collecting voice commands mostly to improve the TV's performance. "It looks like they are using a third-party service to convert speech to text, so that's most of what is being disclosed here," said Corynne McSherry, the intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

But, said McSherry, "If I were the customer, I might like to know who that third party was, and I'd definitely like to know whether my words were being transmitted in a secure form." If the transmission is not encrypted, a SmartHacker could conceivably turn your TV into an eavesdropping device.
After reading this, I have two concerns. First, there's the point outlined by McSherry about the vulnerability to hackers. So even if we can be assured that Samsung and the third party isn't up to anything nasty, is the entire process secure enough to protect ourselves from hackers, or an intelligence agency like the NSA? I have my doubts.
Beyond this, there is an equally important concern regarding how this trend might progress into the future, and how it will future erode personal privacy if we don't address it now.
Take Facebook for example. In its early days it was a seemingly benign, efficient and enjoyable way to stay in touch with friends and reconnect with olds ones. It lured in over a billion users and then essentially decided to turn on all of them without really ever letting anyone know in order to make an incredible amount of money. I've discussed some examples of this on Liberty Blitzkrieg on many occasions (links at the end), but most recently I highlighted an incredibly important and powerful article by Salim Varani, in the post: A Very Disturbing and Powerful Post "Get Your Loved Ones Off Facebook". Here's an excerpt:

Facebook doesn't keep any of your data safe or anonymous, no matter how much you lock down your privacy settings. Those are all a decoy. There are very serious privacy breaches, like selling your product endorsement to advertisers and politicians, tracking everything you read on the internet, or using data from your friends to learn private things about you they have no off switch.

Facebook's blocks posts based on political content it doesn't like. They blocked posts about Fergusson and other political protests. When Zuckerberg alledgedly went a bit nuts and banned the word "privacy" from meetings at Facebook, it was also blocked from any Facebook post. You just got an error message about "inappropriate content". Yeah, uh huh. Inappropriate for who?

If you've ever used Facebook contact sync, or used Facebook on your mobile phone, Facebook took your complete contact list. Real names, phone numbers, addresses, emails, everything. They then use that to create "shadow profiles" of the people you know who aren't on Facebook. Non Facebook users often see this in action, in the form of emails to them from Facebook, containing their personal information. Facebook users can see this when they upload a picture of a non-Facebook user, and they're automatically tagged. My friend's not on Facebook, but since me and a few friends used Facebook on our phones, Facebook has his name and contact information, plus knows who his friends are because it sees him in their address book and calling records.

That's even scarier because Facebook is used heavily for political advertising, and product endorsements. People know I raised money for kids with cancer before, so they might not be surprised if they see an ad where I'm endorsing a Christian outreach programme poor kids in Africa. But I categorically only support programmes that don't have religious allegiances, since they're known to bias their support to people who convert. Worse, a lot of people might assume things about my religious beliefs based on these false endorsements. Don't even get me started on all the hypey startup stuff I don't condone!
Bet you didn't think that this is what Facebook would become when you first joined, did you? But this is indeed what it has become, and now that you're hooked you can cut the cord. Like with drug dealers, "the first one's always free." If you haven't read Salim's article in full, I strongly suggest you do.
Now back to the original Daily Beast article for some more thoughts on the matter…

Samsung's privacy policy notes that in addition to voice commands being transmitted, information about your device, "including device identifiers," may also be beamed over the Internet to the third-party service, "or to the extent necessary to provide Voice Recognition features to you."

McSherry called that bit of qualifying language "worrisome."

"Samsung may just be giving itself some wiggle room as the service evolves, but that language could be interpreted pretty broadly," she said.
This is my key concern. Although it might be completely benign right now, that in no way, shape or form means it will remain that way. In fact, once everyone is hooked on SmartTVs and forgets about this whole hubbub, these companies could eagerly turn around and sell all of your private conversation details to advertisers or worse. By then, it might be too late for you to let go.

I'll bet the 'third party' is, or makes its intake available to, GCHQ!.....NSA....depending on where one is.

But, smart phones and some 'dumb' mobiles phones can listen to what you say near them even when you think they are off!...and of course when they are on. To disable this one must take out the battery. Funny, but some you can't take out the battery...wonder how that was decided upon.....::fury:: Likewise all webcams can transmit what it 'sees' even if you think you haven't activated it. I keep mine covered.
I'm fighting this tooth and nail.

The following is the text of my emails to and from Samsung:

Quote:Dear Samsung,

Regarding the news report in today's Independent newspaper:


Please note that I own three Samsung tv's. Fortunately none are the latest smart ones. And now never will be.

I commit and promise never again to buy another Samsung product of any type unless or until the technical ability to collect peoples audio conversations (and worse images when or if that happens too) is completely removed. I do not mean simply a reversal of the corporare decision to collect this datas, but the technical ability to do so.

I am now in the process of contacting every one of my friends and family to urge them to do the same and am fairly confident most will agree, because this is a step too far past reasonableness that most people will rightly abhor.

I am taking the time to tell you this.


David Guyatt

Samsung's reply today:

Quote:Dear Mr Guyatt

I am contacting in response to your e-mail to Red Consultancy concerning the recent article that you have read in The Independent concerning Samsung Smart televisions.

Whilst we recognise your position that you do not currently own a Smart Television please be assured that Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously and our products are designed with privacy in mind. We employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers' personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.

Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. Should consumers enable the voice recognition capability, the voice data consists of TV commands, or search sentences, only. Users can easily recognize if the voice recognition feature is activated because a microphone icon appears on the screen.

If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search to execute the command. At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.



And my response:

Quote:Thank you Sean.

My position is that whether or not you use encryption is beside the point. I will not buy a product that collects audio data from my living room and shares it with a third party. It is not your right to "secure" my private conversations or comments made from the security of my home.

There is also the added concern of others being able to hack into this data stream irrespective of your industry standard encryption.

This is a dangerous and irresponsible development and I aim to fully inform my friends and family - and a wider circle, in fact - of your decision to undertake what is, in effect, a surreptitious entry into my home to eavesdrop on my private conversations. If I, and others, do not fight this now, what's to stop other TV manufacturers to follow suit? If they are not doing so already?

This whole matter also creates the genuine concern that the next intrusion will be to collect visual data in addition to audio - again assuming this is not already a fact --- or is otherwise on the drawing board if the current incursion is permitted to proceed unhindered.

I think Samsung need to urgently review and reverse this decision and act with haste to assure customers accordingly. What might start out as an innovative idea must be reviewed and assessed from all angles. The "dark side" of this new technological ability will ultimately be used for the worst possible reasons. Human nature will assure that outcome.


David Guyatt
Privacy's for crooks. So say sneeky, deranged, self-justifying bastards. I gather the voice recognition on Apples i-goods goes to a big warehouse in California. I find it odd that fore an' aft cameras in 'net devices don't have an opaque sliding door 'hard off', but no-one seems to give an s-h-1-t; I just have to shut my eyes. Bit late throwing a wobbla now over Samsungs conveniences.
There's something to this commentary here - - "Few seemed to bristle at Edward Snowden's leaks in 2013: the collection of metadata by intelligence services can feel abstract, unthreatening. What feels clear and present and invasive at least, more so is the monitoring by private companies of one's own body, and voice, within the supposed privacy of one's own living room." That's speaking directly of me, 'cept I don't see anywhere that these Samsung tv's're telling anyone to commit suicide, like mine does every night and day.
Samsung have now replied to my response to their initial PR smoothing bullshit about how much they care about customer privacy.

Quote:Dear Mr Guyatt

We recognise your position, this has been brought to the attention of our AV Product Team for their information on our customer feedback.



In other words a polite fuck off, we're going ahead anyway.

That's me and Samsung parting ways forever. The problem is other manufacturers will do the same - and then, I suspect, visual will be added to the audio data collection package.

Either fight it now or face the consequences.
Samsung has apparently published directions on how to turn the voice collection stuff off, and it's only for TV's that allow "voice control" anyhow, for all those tech heads that can't be bothered to locate the remote and/or push a button (or walk across the room to turn it off - yes I am that old).

I have a Samsung, and plan to continue to watch it, using my remote control device, and yes, that means I'll have to spend precious seconds of my life look for it from time to time.
What strikes me as the odd part [sinister really] is the idea to send any data whatsoever from the TV and out of the home to some 'third party'. How does it do that? Using what technology - internet, phone line, mobile-type service, other? It doesn't matter, as GCHQ and NSA are tapping ALL UK/US/World data streams, it is automatically vacuumed [hoovered] up. If there were electronics within the TV that could interpret voice and then actuate commands, that would be one thing - but sending it out to what is called a 'third party' [notice that no company/entity is named!] is really sinister, IMHO. As there are chips now in modern high-end appliances of all kinds, this will become pervasive. Most people's homes have already secretly been invaded by their smart phones, webcams, computers and RFID devices - add to that now TVs. The trend is pretty obvious.

Long ago, in Aspen Colorado [a very upscale ski resort] I saw and heard my first talking refrigerator. If the door was not closed properly/fully it would say, 'the door is ajar' and I used to talk back to it saying, 'No, the door is a door - not a jar!' It didn't reply. Now, I suppose the current model would answer back while sending my voice to some voice identification unit at NSA. Perhaps it even has a webcam on it sending an image with the voice. They want to know everything about everyone - and some of us they want to know about even more so. We should all change our first names to Winston.

NSA and GCHQ have long since kept track of everyone's movements by plane, car [license plate readers], movements [TV cameras with facial recognition, and mobile phones], financial transactions [all credit card use - which also gives location], medical, legal and other activities. It was only a matter of time to enter the home. Many police departments in the USA [likely elsewhere] now have a special wall-penetrating radar that can locate where persons are in a home or flat through the walls. They are working on a model that can ID who the person is.

There is little privacy left but between one's ears....that will be the next target!:Confusedhock::
It's via the internet Pete, as this is for "smart" tv's - in other word internet connected. And as Drew said, you can currently switch the voice activator off. But who's to say it can't be remotely switched back on again, in the future, as can be, and is done with computers, laptops etc.

In a world where intrusive technology has become a daily affair and governments and others break the law to eavesdrop and surveil ordinary people, we have grown lazy and blase about these intrusions - not seeing what a Big Brother corporate state could actually become in the near future. For example, in Sweden a company has implanted microchips in employees who have are now scanned to gain access to the building. It will soon be extended to pay for food in the canteen and to replace passwords in computers.

It's not the use these technologies are put to today but what they will be put to in the future.

Fear, laziness and myopia are rapidly becoming our response to these ever increasing intrusions into our freedom.