Sssh… Your smart-TV is trying to sell you something

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Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.” — George Orwell, 1984

While Samsung’s listening TV represents further proof that tech has outpaced our human rights, as a company, Samsung do not lack for ambition or gall. Far from being content with an ‘Orwellian’ (and far from unique) privacy policy that warns 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.” Samsung, in their commitment to consumer privacy have been ensuring customers that “data gathering” is “carried out with utmost transparency.”

The lesser known Samsung x Yahoo pop-up partnership has seen Samsung experimenting with new ways to show users ads on your set – e.g. on-screen pop-up banner stylee’ – with the smartTVs inserting pop-up video adverts into television programmes and movies played through ‘third-party apps’. Supposedly an ‘opt-in’ function, the pop-ups actually require users to opt-out in order to switch the Yahoo pop-ups off.

So what does the ‘opt-out’ procedure look like? Well… Exit Smart Hub > press Menu (on your remote) > scroll to Smart Hub > Terms & Policy > Yahoo Privacy Policy. Scroll to “I disagree with the Yahoo Privacy Notice.” > toggle the option to opt-out.

Simple, no? Well just don’t swear at the TV ­– it’s listening to every word you say.

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Smart TV by The Keen Eye that is Sky Nash

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