Re-imagining the remote

March 18, 2015 in Blog by admin  |  No Comments

A new slate of tablets, smartphones and apps are being released to serve as remotes for our digital universe. Originally, their primarily function was to control our electronics.  As technology advances, these remotes can now run your “smart home” devices such as turning lights on and off; control the heating or air conditioning for your house; and much more. Soon, as T-Commerce begins to infiltrate our homes, however, these devices will offer a host of new options:

  • Want to buy that piece of clothing your favorite character is wearing?  Check.
  • Stats for the on-deck power hitter?  Check.
  • Filmography of your favorite star?  Check.
  • Tweet your opinion of what you’re watching? Check.

Developers are already working on apps that will instantly “read” which television show or movie you’re watching. Very soon options like these will automatically appear, tailored to your exact taste and interests.

Most of us are nonplus about this invasion into our digital universe.  Perhaps, however, we should rethink this encroachment into our living space.

A case in point:

As part of its End-User License Agreement, Samsung SmartTV and its Voice Recognition feature has issued the following warning (hidden deep within its 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”.

So what does this mean in English?

The average American spend more than five hours a day watching television.  During those five hours — assuming you’re watching Samsung’s SmartTV with any new-or-upcoming television or gaming system with a Voice Recognition system — every conversation you have with your spouse or family or friends is duly “captured and transmitted” to a “third party”.

Whether that “third party” is an advertising or marketing firm is never properly clarified.  Simply that conversations in your living space are “captured and transmitted”.

Samsung and other Voice Recognition manufacturers would like us to think that they’re merely capturing your impressions about a movie or television show.  They would probably be corporately “horrified” at the notion that they would ever intrude on the remarks that you hate your boss or punished your child or voiced some personal-held political opinion, all in the privacy of your home.

Yet “captured and transmitted” refers to any “personal or other sensitive information” and no amount of corporate backpedaling will change the fact that corporations are now able to record and store our most intimate and personal remarks in our last haven of privacy.

We wonder, if our devices are now capable of “capturing and transmitting” whether this trend will soon extend to our remotes.

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