As the number of connected devices — aka the Internet of Things, aka the sensornet — proliferates so too does the number of devices leaning on voice recognition technology as an interface to allow for hands free control.
Last fall, for instance, Amazon revealed a connected speaker with a Siri-style assistant that can perform tasks like adding items to your ecommerce shopping basket on command. Internet connected ‘smart TVs’ which let couch-potatoes channel-hop by talking at their screen, rather than mashing the buttons of a physical remote control are even more common — despite dubious utility to the user. The clear consumer electronics trajectory is for more devices with embedded ears that can hear what their owners are saying. And, behind those ears, the server-side brains to data-mine our conversations for advertising intelligence.
You can control your SmartTV, and use many of its features, with voice commands. If you enable Voice Recognition, you can interact with your Smart TV using your voice. To provide you the Voice Recognition feature, some voice commands may be transmitted (along with information about your device, including device identifiers) to a third-party service that converts speech to text or to the extent necessary to provide the Voice Recognition features to you. 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. 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.
As an Electronic Frontier Foundation activist pointed out earlier today, via Twitter, the concept of a TV screen that might be snooping on your private conversations — and thus broadcasting a chilling effect by inculcating self-censorship within its viewers — is straight out of George Orwell’s 1984: