Blog: Opinions

Is your Samsung TV listening to you? – UPDATE

Ken Munro 27 Feb 2015


After our recent discovery that our Samsung TV was sending voice recognition data over the internet unencrypted, they sent the following response:

“Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously and our products are designed with privacy in mind.

Our latest Smart TV models are equipped with data encryption and a software update will soon be available for download on other models.”

Our TV was a UE46ES8000, just over 2 years old. Samsung indicated above that our telly was quite old and didn’t feature the latest security features.

Not ideal, but at least they were aware of the problem; had fixed it on later models and were offering on a fix for early TVs. Fair enough.

But after 18 years in IT security, I’m quite cynical. So we bit the bullet and spent nearly £2,000 on a brand new Samsung TV a UE55HU7500, advertised widely as a current model.


The voice recognition process is a little different; press a button on the remote rather than say a ‘key word’. The audio codec is different too, but the lack of encryption is just the same.


Yes, you read that screen shot correctly. No encryption on the voice data.

Samsung’s statement above was either slightly misleading or factually incorrect. What did they mean by ‘latest models’ – the ones they aren’t even shipping yet, perhaps?

We considered their point about an update, so updated the firmware on the TV to see if it made any difference.


Nope, still unencrypted

I think it’s time Samsung came clean and indicated exactly which of their TVs actually offer encryption of voice data and which do not.