Any device that you own that is connected to the internet is potentially accessible and vulnerable to probing eyes and ears. It sounds like something out of a James Bond movie, but it has been speculated for some time now. That is, that the government has the potential to spy on its citizens through features embedded into smart TV’s, iPhones, and PC’s. These features, which include microphones, cameras, and voice recognition software, track and store information about users.
The Federal Trade Commission received a complaint from the Electronic Privacy Information Center about Samsung Smart TV’s and their listening capabilities being “always on.” Samsung, in turn, answered the accusation in an official statement advising “Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously and our products are designed with privacy in mind.” They further state their devices are designed “to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorized collection or use.”
The information was revealed through a non-profit news organization called WikiLeaks, founded by Swedish publisher Julian Assange in 2006. The multi-national news entity is known for exposing restricted and government-censored documents into the public domain. Assange, the founder, is described as “intense, driven and highly intelligent – with an exceptional ability to crack computer codes.”
The news site specializes in delivering information involving official documents and materials with regard to war, spying, and corruption. One could say WikiLeaks is only doing their job by revealing this information about the devices Americans use in our everyday lives. The good news is, these devices will normally come with an option to disable the feature used to track and monitor your behavior online. However, it will take some further investigating to ensure the feature really was disabled after following the necessary steps.
It should be noted that so far, the features embedded into these devices are meant to track the user’s habits regarding purchases made, entertainment viewing habits, etc. However, the extent to which the government will use its capabilities to track consumer behavior remains to be seen. Just be aware that if you have a device which connects to the power of the air through the internet, there is the possibility you are being monitored.
How does it make you feel to know your online habits may be monitored? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter @lcarterwriter.