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EPIC FTC Complaint Filed For “Deceptive” Samsung Smart TVs


This week was not good for Samsung as a nonprofit group, EPIC, has filed a complaint (PDF) with the Federal Trade Commission. EPIC states that Samsung Smart TVs are “deceptive” and the company has asked FTC to investigate Samsung for violating its customer’s privacy with its voice recording feature on its Samsung Smart TVs.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) wrote that Samsung intercepts and records the private conversations of consumers in their homes on a routine basis.

Samsung than stated that these claims by EPIC are not true and do not reflect any of the actual features of the Smart TV. Samsung also stated that the company takes the privacy of its consumers very seriously and the company’s products are designed with privacy in mind.

The Korean company has been accused of invading consumer privacy ever since some users discovered wording in their Smart TVs privacy policy. The policy basically warns the users not to say anything sensitive in front of the Smart TV as the voice recognition feature records conversations and sends them to a third party.

The third part that Samsung uses for its voice recognition service is called Nuance. Now all of the data that is recorded is sent to Nuance by Samsung. Moreover this not the first time that Samsung has to face security issues. In 2012 it was reported that the Internet-facing TVs from Samsung were easily hackable by some security researchers.

The EPIC has also charged that even though Samsung has a warning in its privacy policy that is not enough to make the consumers aware of what is going on behind the scenes. The group has stated that the Korean giant has and is violating the FTC Act, The Cable Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Electronics Communications Privacy Act.

Some of you would also remember that Samsung’s Smart TVs also faced a controversy when its users had complained that the TVs were inserting ads automatically into their locally stored content on playback. These ads could have been a mistake as Samsung stated so but the Korean company has signed a deal with Yahoo to deliver pop-up ads on its TVs.