Samsung Clarifies Smart TV Privacy Policy That Freaked Everyone Out

This past weekend, someone noticed that Samsung reserves the right to record things we say near our TVs and upload them to a third party, and for some reason this freaked people out. Samsung has solved the problem by removing the problematic sentence from their privacy policy, replacing it with an expanded explanation of what uploading your speech to a third party really means.

The original phrasing, as you may remember, simply said:

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.

“Wait, what spoken words?” Samsung smart TV owners and the general public asked. “Everything I say in my living room? Everything I say in my house?” The policy wasn’t clear, which is why Samsung updated it to spell out exactly what’s going on. It’s quite clear, so we don’t even need to clarify and summarize it. Take it away, Samsung:

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. 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.

See? That’s all we wanted: to be assured that our TVs aren’t recording all of our conversations and uploading them to an unnamed “third party.”

There are two types of voice commands that a smart TV understands: stock commands like “TV off” and more complex commands: Samsung uses the example “Find me a sci-fi movie to watch.” Like the voice recognition software in phones and tablets, for more complex phrases, the TVs upload the recording to a server for translation into text.

More importantly, they explain that the TV only records you when a button on the remote is pressed. Even if all of your mundane conversations are with your cat, you still don’t want those recorded.

Samsung Edits Orwellian Clause Out Of TV Privacy Policy [TechCrunch]