Smart TV’s are too smart for their own good. They are watching us while we watch them.

This past week a lot of troubling news has surfaced regarding Samsung’s smart TVs. Reports are flooding in on how Samsung’s smart TVs can spy on the users and even inject ads into users own personal content!

Mother says: “Watch  your mouth!”

The Samsung privacy info document states:

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. 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,

What a time we live in where we can’t even sit in our own living rooms without having to worry about eavesdroppers. It’s one thing to log voice commands that user’s say at the TV. Hell, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to even have them log what show you were watching, but listening to EVERYTHING I say in front of my mart TV, and then SEND IT to a third-party… ugh!

Sadly, it’s not just Samsung either! LG’s privacy policy has a similar statement…

Please be aware that if your spoken word includes personal or other sensitive information, such information will be among the Voice Information captured through your use of voice recognition features.

Reddit user, johnmountain, sums it up best:

A privacy policy should be about how you’re keeping your users’ data private, not about all the ways you’re allowing yourself to spy on them.

Long story short. Disable these features! Oh wait… LG has already ruined my trust in that… A couple of years ago LG got into some trouble when Jason Huntley, an IT consultant, discovered that the feature didn’t work as promised.

We’ll be back after these messages…

Things just keep getting better for smart TVs. Recently, users have reported that their TVs have been injecting ads into their own hard drive content when streamed by the device. It’s bad enough that when you get cable/satellite tv you are bombarded by ads, that you pay for every 5-6 min, but now cable cutters can’t even get away.

Conclusion: Don’t buy a Smart TV

The modern world is becoming more and more like Orwell’s 1984 and it’s being sold to us as “innovation”.  I don’t know how I feel about it but I’m glad that consumers are taking a stand.

Let’s be honest for a moment. Very few of us read our Terms of Services because they are very long and wordy, but maybe we should start looking closer at the privacy aspects of them before we buy that shiny new device.

All I can recommend, is save a few extra hundred bucks and buy a “dumb” LED TV. If you want media streaming, get yourself a HTPC or a media streaming box. Just make sure it isn’t listening to you while you’re listening to it.

Do you care that smart TVs are listening to you and tracking your data? What do you think we as users should do and what do you think the companies manufacturing these TVs should do? Let me know in the comments.