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Voice recognition is a feature many « smart devices » include now, think Siri on the iPhone for instance. Google offers this service, cell phones too, but few know about how this actually works.
The people here that have tried the voice recognition on their cell phones with the wireless connectivity turned off understood that a constant access to the internet is required in order to be able to use it.
Opposed to what we believed at first, the voice recognition system is not integrated but instead, the recording is sent to the server which has the specialized voice recognition matrix that receives the spoken words, analyses it through algorithms to identify what sounds mean what word. And then the server sends back the text version to your device.
That’s how things work. Smart TV’s offer this feature. A futuristic experience for the owner, who sits comfortably in the living room with the family, tells his TV to lower the sound, change channel etc… Samsung Smart TV’s support this feature and « Smart TV » comes hand in hand with « wi-fi connectivity ». What happens when we don’t ask the TV to do something?
The answer becomes privacy-threatening.
Samsung is a smart TV’s leader and it released a clear announcement telling that, even though the voice recognition server does not share information captured by the Smart TV’s voice recognition ability, the TV’s microphone is always ON, analyzing what is said in hope for a voice command.
Put clearly, the TV always listens, and the personal information is sent to Big Brother. Even though Samsung states that the servers are a « third party » and not themselves, even though it is clearly told that the said pieces of information will not be used, every word is nevertheless sent on the web to a voice decryption matrix.
Be aware of it and manually turn off the voice recognition ability of the TV set is not « always listening » anymore, the remotes featuring a button designed expressly to insert a vocal command. Your personal data, bank account information, sensitive information or private life will be shed from the World Wide Web’s data pool.
Cnet.com has released a video explaining this and give more information about Samsung’s warning and hints. This reliable source will answer every question one might wonder about.