DIGITAL DANGER: Why some TV’s are listening to your conversations

News 2 I-Team looks into how hackers can track digital device users.

CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) — When you’re buying a new TV, you’re probably in search for the best image and sound quality. Or, you may be looking for the biggest size, or best price.

But many may not be concerned with a television’s privacy features.

Tech expert Matt Ham says times are changing.

“With a variety of devices out there, the more features that get added, typically the less privacy that you can have,” said Ham

A WikiLeaks report mentioned the CIA’s ability to hack into certain Samsung TV’s.

“That was actually a hack that allowed the voice recognition software to record conversations,” said Ham.

Additionally, in February, manufacturer Vizio and a subsidiary paid a settlement after allegations the company tracked consumers viewing habits and sold it to marketing companies.

Ham says the difficulty with maintaining privacy on smart TVs comes with the software platforms. They aren’t updated as often making them exploitable.

“Frankly, we don’t know which TVs are hacked. We know about the ones that make the news, but we don’t know which ones are hacked and which ones aren’t,” said Ham.

Ham says it’s important for you to understand your TV and how it works.

“Voice recognition is great when you want to turn your TV on from across the room, but it’s also the same feature that can easily get hacked,” Ham said.

Samsung’s website addresses the voice recognition system and explains what it does and how it can affect your privacy.

The website explains you can use your voice to change the channel, volume, or to search for certain shows or genres.

The website says the TV does not record any sounds, but only processes what you say.

You’ll know the voice recognition is on and active when you see a microphone icon appear on the screen.

Samsung also says you can only use the voice recognition feature if you agree to its privacy policy.

Ham still insists that you understand using any software on any device comes with a risk.

“We don’t know what we can trust, and what we can’t,” Ham said.

You can find the I-Team’s complete Digital Danger series here.

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