Your New TV Can Now Watch You and Listen to You
- By: Connie H. Deutsch
If ever there was a time to worry about your privacy being invaded, that time is now.
I doubt if most people are aware that their new Samsung 2012 top of the line plasmas and LED HDTVs have a built-in, internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking, and speech recognition features that can't be disconnected.
There is no on/off switch or even a red light that warns you that you are being watched. These TVs not only recognize you and your family, they also recognize and log anyone who comes to visit you.
Previous TVs come with cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, and are able to be disconnected. These new TVs don't allow you to unplug these sensors or physically disconnect them and there is nothing like a red light to warn you that the microphones are picking up your voice and the camera is recording everything that you do.
That only thing that Samsung's technology allows you to do is to manually reposition the TV's camera away from the viewers so that it points up at the ceiling.
Now, picture this (literally): You and your significant other are sitting on the couch watching TV and snuggling. You aren't even thinking about the camera watching the two of you making love and you aren't thinking about the twin microphones picking up your conversation. You don't even think about manually repositioning the camera or going into another room to escape the camera and microphones.
And if you have personal documents that are lying around, the camera is looking at them and logging them. If your credit cards are in sight, the account numbers are there, too. Your bank statements are also being looked at. Everything within range of the TV camera and microphones can be seen and heard.
Samsung is taking no responsibility for this invasion of your privacy. If your records are hacked, it's too bad. If your personal information ends up going viral on the Internet or gets into the wrong hands, you should have known better. If your information is sold to companies without your knowledge or consent, don't blame Samsung. If the government gets hold of your personal information and uses it to issue a warrant for your arrest, again, it's your tough luck. In other words, the old caveat still applies: Let the buyer beware.
The TV even has a built-in Facebook app. Since there are so many unanswered security questions about this TV, it's not unreasonable to wonder if hackers can get into your Facebook account and match other viewers to their Facebook pictures for even more personal data.
Countless companies have had their networks hacked, causing thousands of customers' personal data to be released to the world. If this were to happen to Samsung it is theoretically possible hackers could gain access to names, addresses, and images of the faces of entire families and their visitors.
To date, Samsung has not issued a privacy statement so we don't know which of their partners are sharing your information. All that we've been told is that when connecting to the Internet, the TVs first connect to the Samsung cloud, and from there, they connect to the various streaming video services and other apps for activation.
Samsung induces its new Smart TV owners to register online by offering a free three-month extension of the TV's warranty. This would couple user names and addresses to their TV serial numbers, if the company so desired.
There is no owner's manual for your new Samsung TV. If you want one, you have to download it and agree to the following online statement: "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."
This agreement that you have to accept if you want the manual, is so ambiguous and lets Samsung off the hook for so many privacy breaches, that a customer would never be able to get out from under the consequences, even after he gets rid of the TV.
I remember when George Orwell's book, "1984" came out. There were posters everywhere showing someone spying on you and it said, "Big Brother is Watching You." We used to see them everywhere and it was scary but it didn't feel as though we had anything to worry about.
"Big Brother" has become a synonym for abuse of government power, particularly in respect to civil liberties, often specifically related to mass surveillance.
These new TVs are starting to resemble the "Big Brother" posters that we used to see everywhere. What was once fiction, has now become stark reality.
Where does it end? Will it get to the point where we are always having to look over our shoulder to see if we are being watched, and will we have to talk in whispers for fear of our conversations being overheard? Will we distrust everyone and keep our opinions to ourselves for fear of someone turning us in to the powers that be?
Right now, we are living in a society that thrives on telling the whole world what we are thinking, feeling, and doing, i.e., the social networking sites. We are living in a society that could benefit from putting filters on the personal aspects of our lives.
If only we didn't live in such extremes. If only we didn't go from opening ourselves up to the whole world knowing about anything and everything in our lives to having companies take away our privacy without even telling us that they are going to do that to us.
Unfortunately, owners of these new TVs might not even realize how their identities were stolen and their bank accounts depleted; they will only know that they are the victims of some kind of hacking. And the manufacturer will get away with wholesale theft and the greatest of all breaches of civil liberties.
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Author Resource :
Connie H. Deutsch is an internationally known business consultant and personal advisor who has a keen understanding of human nature and is a natural problem-solver. She has counseled people who have OCD for more than 40 years,
Connie is the author of the books, “Round and Round Goes the Merry-Go-Round: Drugless Therapy for OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)” “Whispers of the Soul,” “A Slice of Life,” “Whispers of the Soul for the Rest of Your Life,” “From Where I'm Sitting,” “Are You Listening?,” “View from the Sidelines,” “Reaching for the Brass Ring of Life,” “Purple Days and Starry Nights,” “Here and There,” “And That's How it Goes,” and “The Counseling Effect.” Her website: http://www.conniehdeutsch.com/(http://www.conniehdeutsch.com/)
See more of her articles by clicking here ConnieHDeutsch Articles(http://www.conniehdeutsch.com/page-articles)