Samsung Says ‘Our Smart TVs are Not Monitoring Conversations’

Earlier this week, social media was abuzz after an influx of reports suggested that Samsung’s Smart TVs secretly listen to living room chatter and record those conversations in order to place it inside a centralized data storage. This wasn’t a conspiracy either because Samsung actually warned consumers in its privacy policy guide.

Samsung published a blog post and noted that it would clarify its policy language to ensure that customers don’t actually think they’re purchasing a device that effectively bugs their own home.

The blog post attempted to explain how its voice recognition feature actually works by noting that there’s two ways to use it: first, a built-in microphone listens to commands like “change the channel” and “change the volume” without storing or transmitting those words. Second, users ask the television to search something, which is then stored and transmitted into a third-party server to process users’ requests.

samsung smart tv

Many had wondered who the third-party organization is. Samsung confirmed that the entity is Nuance Communications, a voice-recognition software firm. This firm provides Samsung with the speech-to-text software.

With that being said, Samsung emphatically outlined that users will not be recorded. As part of the new policy, Samsung states it “will collect your interactive voice commands only when you make a specific search request … by clicking the activation button.”

According to the Washington Post, most voice-controlled technology regularly listens to conversations but rather in a sleep-state mode. It listed “Hey Siri,” “Okay Google,” “Xbox” or “Alexa” as words that these gadgets have to listen for in order to wake up from its hibernation.

If you still don’t believe Samsung then you can simply turn off the voice-controlled feature. Users turn on settings, click on “smart features,” scroll down to “voice recognition” and hit “off.” This prevents the television from listening to your words.