Samsung may face FTC probe over voice-recognition TVs

A privacy group has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Samsung out of concerns the electronics giant’s Smart TVs are eavesdropping on their owners’ private conversations.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the commission on Tuesday, charging that the Korean electronics giant’s use of voice-recognition technology violates federal communication privacy law. The complaint highlights the delicate balance consumer tech companies must strike when introducing new products that incorporate voice, gesture and other commands.

The feature allows users to change channels, adjust volume or search for programs, all with just a verbal command spoken into one of two microphones. It became the focus of privacy concerns earlier this month when close reading of Samsung’s privacy policy revealed a warning to users 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.”

Although Samsung later updated its privacy policy to make it clear that the TVs’ voice recognition and data collection features can be disabled, EPIC argues that Samsung’s feature violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which prohibits the “interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications.”

Read the Full Article: Source – c|net

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