Samsung Smart TVs injecting ads into your own content

Posted on Thursday, Feb 12 2015 @ 15:34 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Earlier this week there was some controversy as someone who had actually read Samsung's privacy policy discovered that some Samsung Smart TVs may spy on you as the privacy policy mentions that personal or sensitive information could be captured and transmited to a third party through the TV's Voice Recognition feature. Full details about this news can be found at DigitalTrends.
The apparent epicenter for this tidal wave of TV terror appears to be this Reddit post, which cites the following excerpt from Samsung’s Smart TV Privacy Policy: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”


The suggestion that Samsung Smart TVs are “always listening” is a misnomer, and at the core of all the scuttlebutt. The fact is, Samsung’s Smart TVs are asleep on the job 99 percent of the time. They’re programmed to “wake up” when they detect a pre-programmed phrase such as “Hi TV,” but — and this is critical — until that phrase is spoken, they aren’t “paying attention” to anything you say, nor are they storing or reporting anything.
Today some of Samsung's Smart TVs are in the spotlight again as users discovered that the TVs are injecting ads when consumers are watching their own content! This unwanted feature is the result of Samsung's cooperation with Yahoo on display ad technology. At the time, Samsung promised this would be an opt-in feature but it seems it's being rolled out to more and more people:
The company’s partnership with Yahoo on display ad technology was reported several weeks ago, when tech writer David Chartier noticed Yahoo-curated ads showing up on his Samsung display while he used an Apple TV. At the time, Samsung promised that the app feature would be opt-in over time and claimed that the then-current need to opt-out would be temporary.

It seems that the company’s rollout is hitting more than isolated authors, and causing significant unhappiness as a result. According to Reddit user beans90, Samsung is now firing ads into the middle of the Plex app, which he was using to stream local content at the time. In other words, Samsung’s new plan for its advertising partnership with Yahoo appears to be showing you ads at any time, regardless of your current activity.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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