FTC to Investigate Samsung Smart TV Privacy Issues

Sensory Announces Multi-Language Support For Speaker RecognitionA private group has lodged a formal complaint against Samsung’s new smart TVs, according to an article by Nick Wingfield on the New York Times Bits blog. The group, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), has brought the complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, where it has previously fought against the likes of Facebook and Google.

The issue revolves around the smart television’s use of voice recognition technology, which is meant to let users control it via spoken commands. Eyebrows were raised earlier this month when a change to the attendant privacy policy warned users that sensitive information captured by the TV’s sensors could be sent to a third party. As Wingfield notes, Samsung later stated that the privacy policy change had “led to confusion”, but the company has left its privacy policy as is. Now, EPIC is asking the FTC to investigate whether the company has violated US laws concerning privacy.

It seems to be turning into a real headache for the company, which has found itself embattled on the smartphone front, and may have been looking to Internet of Things devices like smart TVs to pick up the slack. But it’s an important development for all concerned with the IoT industry, as federal regulators have struggled with how to legislate privacy and security matters relating to the burgeoning field. Messy cases like this one may be the only practical way forward in setting such standards.