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You are here: Home / Personal Tech / Samsung's TVs Putting Ads in Movies
Samsung Smart TVs Inserting Ads into Video Apps
Samsung Smart TVs Inserting Ads into Video Apps
By Jennifer LeClaire / CRM Daily Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
FEBRUARY
11
2015
Electronics giant Samsung has launched an investigation to determine exactly why some of its Smart TVs are adding advertisements to television programs and films without asking permission. Samsung Smart TV users are complaining about the uninvited ads and the company has pledged to the get to the bottom of it.

“Every movie I play, 20-30 minutes in it plays the Pepsi ad, no audio but crisp, clear ad. It has happened on 6 movies today,” according to one Reddit member, who uses the Plex app on his Samsung Smart TV. The Plex app organizes video, music and photos from a user’s personal media library and streams them to smart TVs, mobile devices or streaming set-top boxes.

Plex has denied any involvement in serving the ads to Samsung TV users. A Samsung spokesperson issued a media statement indicating that the ad placements in third-party apps like Plex and Foxtel TV are mistakes. Apparently, the issue is only affecting customers in Australia.

‘Caused by an Error’

"We are aware of a situation that has caused some Smart TV users in Australia to experience program interruption in the form of an advertisement," Samsung said. "This seems to be caused by an error, and we are currently conducting a full and thorough investigation into the cause as our top priority. We would like to apologize for any inconvenience experienced by our customers."

The latest story comes on the heels of headlines alleging Samsung's Smart TVs are spying on viewers while they enjoy content in the privacy of their own homes. Earlier this week, it was revealed that Smart TVs may be listening in on users' personal conversations.

Apparently Samsung has covered itself for that issue in the following 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."

What’s the Big Deal?

“If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search to execute the command," according to Samsung. "At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV."

Samsung is not the only smart TV maker to collect this type of data, however. LG Electronics, Amazon Echo, Microsoft Xbox One, and Motorola Moto X are each doing something similar.

“If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature, voice data is provided to a third party during a requested voice command search to execute the command," according to Samsung. "At that time, the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV."

Tim Erlin, director of IT security and risk strategy at advanced threat detection firm Tripwire, told us what Samsung, LG and others are doing is not so different, really, from what Siri, Cortana and Google already do.

“While highlighting this privacy policy is valuable, it’s not a new issue for consumers. Rather than complain about Samsung, consumers should be calling for better transparency on and control over the data that’s actually collected,” Erlin said. “Only when consumers can actually manage their data directly, and not simply the configuration of how it’s collected, will we be able to implement these kinds of technologies securely.”

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

NoNonsenseConsumer:
Posted: 2015-02-12 @ 1:13pm PT
Mr. Erlin is right. Indeed what they are doing is not new, nor is it necessarily evil. But they have to be fully transparent about it and empower users to switch those features off at any time.

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