The policy, a summary of which is also posted online, ominously advises users to, “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.”
“I do not doubt that this data is important to providing customized content and convenience, but it is also incredibly personal, constitutionally protected information that should not be for sale to advertisers and should require a warrant for law enforcement to access,” writes Price, adding that current privacy laws offer little protection against “third party” data.
Price also draws attention to comments made in 2012 by former CIA director David Petraeus, who hailed the “Internet of things” as a transformational boon for “clandestine tradecraft”. In other words, it will soon be easier than ever before to keep tabs on the population since everything they use will be connected to the web, with total disregard for privacy considerations. The spooks won’t have to plant a bug in your home or your vehicle, you will be doing it for them.
As we have documented, the Internet of things is the process of manufacturing every new product with a system that broadcasts wirelessly via the world wide web, allowing industry and the government to spy ubiquitously on every aspect of your existence.
In recording private conversations for potential third party use, Samsung is merely mimicking what games console makers have done for years.
Since its launch in 2010, Microsoft’s X-Box Kinect games device has a video camera and a microphone that records speech. The company informs its users that they “should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features,” while Microsoft also “may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications.”
Last year, Microsoft was forced to deny claims that the Xbox One’s Kinect camera could see gamers’ genitals after video footage emerged which suggested the device’s IR camera was so sophisticated that it could capture the outline of a user’s penis.
Gamers also complained that Kinect was monitoring their Skype conversations for swearing and then punishing them with account bans.
With Christmas fast approaching, millions more people will splash the cash on games consoles and smart TVs completely oblivious to the fact that they are paying to have their private conversations recorded and potentially transmitted to third parties.