Is the Samsung SMART TV Too Smart For Its Own Good?
Turns out this TV is looking right back at you -- and may be recording your every move
Remember that scene in the movie "Enemy of The State," when Will Smith's character realizes how the government agents who are chasing him know his every move; they're watching him through his television?
The television has a built-in HD camera, two microphones, and face tracking and speech recognition software. The voice and face recognition software can customize the settings for whomever is sitting in front of the TV at the time. It actually can recognize the face of everyone sitting on the couch watching the game and store their faces too.
While this sounds like the coolest thing ever, concerns have been raised about whether owners of the television have as much control over the television as they would like.
A technology report by NBC News revealed:
During our demo, unless the face recognition learning feature was activated, there was no indication (such as a red light) as to whether the camera and audio mics are on. And as far as the microphone is concerned, there is no way to physically disconnect it or be assured it is not picking up your voice when you don’t intend it to do so...
Essentially, the SMART TV could be running these systems without anyone knowing. Need proof that it can happen? Well, take into consideration that Samsung is developing apps that will allow SMART TV owners to turn their televisions into silent home-security systems by allowing remote viewing on a smartphone or tablet via the TV’s built-in camera.
When confronted by HD Guru about the possibility that the televisions could be seen as friendly spy tools, Samsung offered no response, instead pointing to the verbiage inside the TV's instruction manual.
"Samsung assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable, in connection with whether any such products or services will be appropriate, functional or supported for the Samsung products or services available in your country," it reads.
That same manual is also where SMART TV owners will read and find out how to disable the "spy" functions. Unlike other televisions, you can't just turn the options off, you have to download special software to deactivate them. Other than that, the only guarantee against being secretly recorded is by adjusting the SMART TV's pivot to point it toward the ceiling, away from the viewer.