EPIC seeks FTC probe into Samsung’s ‘snooping’ smart TVs

A formal complaint has been filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), seeking an investigation into Samsung's allegedly 'snooping' smart TVs.

Urging the FTC to probe into Samsung's collection of user data in its SmartTV models, the EPIC has said in its complaint that Samsung is not only misleading the customers, but is also apparently breaching the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Cable Communications Policy Act.

It is the voice command functionality of Samsung's SmartTV models which is the objectionable issue highlighted in the EPIC complaint to the FTC. In the SmartTV privacy policy, Samsung has mentioned that the SmartTV sets will collect user speech commands, and will pass on the information to a third-party voice recognition service, Nuance Communications.

According to the EPIC, the fact that Samsung SmartTVs will collect and share users' personal conversations has not been made clear enough to the customers. As such, most of the SmartTV users are not aware that their TV sets are remotely capturing and transmitting their conversations.

Drawing attention to the issue, EPIC has said in its complaint: "When the voice recognition feature is enabled, everything a user says in front of the Samsung SmartTV is recorded and transmitted over the internet to a third party regardless of whether it is related to the provision of the service."

United States