Typically, when people worry about large organizations that are dangerous to them (at least on this site), these people are worried about the inroads government is making into our everyday lives. We are concerned about the manipulation and about what the government wants to do to us (for our own good, of course…).
But, unfortunately, there are other organizations out there that have the potential to overstep the boundaries of decent society.
In this case, the large organization in question is electronics giant Samsung, who recently issued a warning to owners of their new smart TVs. TheAntiMedia.org writes,
“In a troubling new development in the domestic consumer surveillance debate, an investigation into Samsung Smart TVs has revealed that user voice commands are recorded, stored, and transmitted to a third party. The company even warns customers not to discuss personal or sensitive information within earshot of the device.”
Now, it would be disturbing enough to have a multinational corporation know your personal private thoughts and comments about different issues if they only used it for marketing purposes, but governments are seeking to force corporations to share the private information of consumers (see the recent court order attempting to force Apple to allow the Federal government complete and unrestricted access to Apple iPhones).
“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.”
This third party means that, by using their smart TV in your home, you are essentially opening yourself up to surveillance from the company and whoever they decide to share your information with.
Beyond governmental concerns (which are many and intense), some are concerned about the backdoor into your daily lives that this technology provides to hackers and other criminals. Jake Anderson writes,
“If our conversations are ‘captured and transmitted,’ eavesdropping hackers may be able to use our ‘personal or other sensitive information’ for identity theft or any number of nefarious purposes.”
Yes, a backdoor into your “captured” information by smart devices could make your family and finances vulnerable, too.
The bottom line? Know what information is being captured and how it is being used before allowing one of these smart devices into your house. The potential for abuse is too much otherwise.