back to article EPIC asks FTC to stick a probe up Samsung over 'snooping' smart TVs

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has lobbied the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Samsung's collection of user information in its Smart PCs. The group filed a formal complaint with the FTC alleging that Samsung is misleading its customers and running afoul of the US Electronic Communications …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This snooping sucks, but can you really call Samsung out alone on this...really?

    BTW, if "EPIC" is lobbying the FTC, who is lobbying "EPIC"....Apple maybe? Wait, can't be Apple, they just collect _FINGERPRINTS_!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "can you really call Samsung out alone on this"

      Look, lets start with Samsung and then move onto LG etc. A complaint like this sends a shot across the bow of the others. Its a clear message. Epic should also be raising the sneaky Popup Ads problem...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      No... not really. But this might just be the first step in the right direction. The problem is most.... no... make that all....... multinational corporations. think they're above the law and ethics rules (of which privacy is one) don't apply to them. Who knows, even Fartbook could take a hit eventually.

      I do believe there some countries would welcome these Samsung TV's and embrace the possibilities for keeping tabs on the population. Remember the Sochi Olympics and warnings to everyone that you would be watch and to not consider any cell phone or internet connection to be secure?

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Considering this is exactly what Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft do with their voice assistants, why is Samsung being taken to task?

      Because they put the information into their T&Cs in a form that people could understand?

      1. User McUser

        Not exactly the same thing.

        Siri et al. record and transmit your voice only when you're actively using that feature.

        The Samsung TVs record and transmit your voice *continuously.* Ostensibly this to detect and respond to your commands but that also means it potentially records and transmits *everything* you say outloud while in range of the thing to a 3rd party whether you wanted it to or not.

        They also do it unencrypted which means that anyone poking around your Internet connection now has a free microphone right there in your house.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Not exactly the same thing.

          According to the articles I read, it only transmits when you tell it to, but it can send a couple of seconds before the order, so that it can understand the context better.

  2. Robert Helpmann??
    Childcatcher

    I'm innocent, I tell you!

    Samsung, meanwhile, maintains that it has done nothing wrong.

    Boilerplate denial. Even if it were to go to a criminal trial and became clear that they did something awful with malice aforethought, they would beg for a settlement in which they admitted no wrongdoing over everything else. It is quite possible that the execs truly believe that they have done nothing wrong, but I would guess they are really more concerned with preserving their reputation and saving face until the situation can be corrected.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: I'm innocent, I tell you!

      Given that Apple's Siri, Google's Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana / Xbox Kinext have been doing exactly the same thing for the last few years and nobody has complained, and Amazon's Alexa has now joined the fray.

      Oh, wait, those are American companies...

  3. Ol' Grumpy

    I wonder if Samsung were behind the "telescreens" featured in Orwell's 1984? :)

  4. Bob Dole (tm)

    As usual: if a company takes your privacy seriously then thy wouldn't collect that information.

    At the very least they would allow you to turn this crap completely off. Doing anything else says that they really don't give a shit.

  5. dan1980

    "Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously . . . "

    Oh, no doubt; they are indeed quite serious when they take away their consumers' privacy.

    Samsung (just like LG and indeed most others) take profits seriously. They want more. If collecting the private information of their customers to sell them ads will bring them more profit then they will do it. And if doing that in a slap-dash and insecure way is cheaper for them, then guess how it will be done . . .

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