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Your TV may be spying on you

Don’t look now, but while you’re listening to your TV, your TV may be listening to you.

Oh, and your car, too.

As part of the Voice Recognition system in Samsung’s SmartTV, things you say around the tube could be captured and transmitted to a third party.

Quoting from Samsung's privacy statement:

To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you...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.

Yahoo Finanace's Jeff Macke wonders: This is a surprise how?

"It's just another sign we're trading all our personal liberties, all our personal privacy to find a nicer way to find Better Call Saul," he says. "It’s creepy. All these things listening to us, hearing us and watching us, that used to matter to folks. Now it doesn’t."

Yahoo Senior Colunnist Michael Santoli agrees it's both creepy... and that nobody cares.

"I think people can have some expressed outrage here and then say, ‘OK, what’s the big deal?’” he asks. "Would it surprise anyone to say Samsung had a refrigerator that knew what you ate? That would be a little bit creepy but then, so what?”

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Meantime, a report by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) warns voice recognition, navigation and similar internet-connected technology in cars may be putting our privacy at risk. Markey noting that carmakers are collecting and using a great amount of driving data that may end up in the hands of hackers or others.

Santoli thinks that could be a big deal... or not.

“Obviously if it’s unauthorized remote usage of your car, that I can see as an absolute danger,” he points out. "But if it’s a matter of listening to what’s going on in the car or knowing where you are at a given point, as another outpost of your connected life, I think it’s the same equation as the TV.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents 12 major automakers, says carmakers believe that strong consumer data privacy protections are essential to maintaining the trust of our customers.  But Macke doesn't buy that any of us is really protected from information theft.

"Your data is never safe," he argues. "We are so far behind in protecting all this cloud data and information being stored. We act as if it’s sacrosanct in the vaults of Samsung or Microsoft (MSFT). That’s simply not true."

And Macke feels that's not going to change until something drastic happens.

"We have no security whatsoever," he says.  "And as Americans, we’ll need an absolute crisis before we care."

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