Simply put, the term “Big Brother” was coined by the visionary, George Orwell, in his famous novel 1984. And if you haven’t read the book (or don’t know how to read), the book describes a totalitarian society where we are all watched, tracked or supervised by an evil entity, known as the party. While the phrase remained in the popular lexicon because of the popularity of the book and the fact that we love conspiracy theories, the truth is that some of those tall claims which the Orwell made in what was his greatest work seem to be catching up with reality.
For instance, users were left in shock and awe when recent revelations made by a Redditer unveiled that Samsung SmartTVs were fitted with the technology which allows it to eavesdrop on viewers, and possibly, record their private conversations. For the technologically inclined, the Voice Recognition technology which is used in the Samsung TV allows users to switch channels or ask for popular suggestions of what they should watch by giving voice commands to their TV’s remote control.
The paragraph in question states that users of the SmartTV have to be careful while having private conversations around their SmartTV sets, because that information could be recorded and stored by third parties. Users were warned to be especially careful when the Samsung SmartTV’s voice recognition is active, which will be displayed by an icon appearing at the top of the screen. And while Samsung was quick to point out that they will not be collecting any personal information, it will still be storing any associated texts or other user data which will be analyzed to improve its service.
While storing and analyzing data is nothing new, and internet users are used to having their online activities tracked to some extent, which helps improve the online search experience. Even voice recognition software is something which is used via an internet connection to translate commands in to actions. The privacy concerns of users are justified because of the inclusion of third parties who will be storing personal data which could then be sold for a profit according to security analysts.
To quote a few lines from George Orwell’s 1984, “Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by [the screen], moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded.”
So, how far do you think the Voice Recognition technology is?