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Samsung Smart TV Can Hear What You Say And Record It

Samsung Smart TV Can Hear What You Say And Record It

With technology advancing by leaps and bounds every year, everything we use seems to be getting smarter and smarter. While this is good news for the most part, it might be worrying to those who are concerned about their privacy.

In the past few years we have seen this story played out a number of times. Take, for instance, the Xbox One’s Kinect, which is an always-on camera that monitors both your voice and bodily motions. While Microsoft stated that there were ways to disable its functionality temporarily, many were still concerned about what exactly Kinect was broadcasting to the world.

Or for another example, we have Apple’s Siri and other similar services like Google Now, which record what you say and store it on a central server, a server that certain company employees have access to.

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Now, enter Samsung, who, like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, is interested in making “smart products.” Take for instance, their new Smart TV.

Samsung’s Smart TV is an interesting product, to be sure, and a testament to how quickly technology is advancing. What concerns people, however, is the fact that this always-connected device keeps track of everything you are saying.

Before I go too far into the details, let me briefly explain how this TV works. Basically, it comes equipped with the ability to track your voice, so that you can change the channel by speaking instead of having to use a remote. Pretty convenient, right?

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You may be wondering to yourself then why there is so much controversy surrounding this TV. Well, the answer lies deep within Samsung’s privacy policy. To paraphrase, what the policy essentially states is that every word you say, including things not necessarily related to the TV, will be captured, recorded, and transmitted to a third party.

This means that sensitive information, such as your passwords, your daily schedule, and more could possibly be collected by some mysterious party, who then has access to your personal data. This is not comforting in the least, considering how easy it is to hack servers these days.

As Business Insider notes, anything you say that might be construed as being related to some kind of illegal action on your part, may be picked up by your TV, saved to a server, and delivered to law enforcement. Or, even worse, your Smart TV could be hacked and turned into a listening device by cyber criminals.

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Neither option sounds very appetizing to me, especially since we all know that many of the things we say in front of our TVs, in the “privacy” of our own homes, need to be taken with a huge grain of salt. What is scary is that Samsung won’t know the context of our conversations, and so might alert law enforcement whether or not we actually pose some kind of threat. As one website states, it all sounds creepily similar to the “telescreens” in George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984.

As a result of all of these concerns, Samsung responded with this:

“Samsung takes consumer privacy very seriously. In all of our Smart TVs we employ industry-standard security safeguards and practices, including data encryption, to secure consumers’ personal information and prevent unauthorised collection or use. Voice recognition, which allows the user to control the TV using voice commands, is a Samsung Smart TV feature, which can be activated or deactivated by the user. The TV owner can also disconnect the TV from the Wi-Fi network.”

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Interestingly, Samsung made no reference to the fact that private conversations can and will be recorded, and did nothing to address the concern that sensitive information might be passed on to authorities.

Their response seemed to be targeted towards assuring consumers that their Smart TVs can’t be hacked, as seen by how they referenced their information encryption process. While that is great, it really doesn’t address the primary issue. To be fair, Samsung did make a point of saying voice commands could be deactivated, but that’s really not a solution, as why else would you buy a Smart TV if not for the convenience of voice commands? For that same reason, disconnecting the TV from Wi-Fi isn’t a true solution either.

Basically, what they are implying is that you can either use your Smart TV to its full potential and risk your privacy, or leave your Smart TV dumb and keep your privacy intact. Which do you value more? If it’s the latter, you might as well stick to dumb TVs. Not only are they far cheaper, but you will get just a bit more of a daily workout thanks to the fact that you will need to use a remote!

Are you concerned about the privacy issues surrounding smart devices? Do you plan on getting a voice-activated smart television, or are you sticking to the good old-fashioned remote for now? Let me know in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Samsung Curved TV/ Kārlis Dambrāns via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

Projects and Tasks Management

1. Monday dot com

    Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

    The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

    The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

    The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

    Check out the software here!

    2. Asana

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      The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

      The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

      Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

      Check out the software here!

      3. Trello

        Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

        Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

        Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

        Check out the software here!

        4. Jira

          The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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          The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

          The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

          Check out the software here!

          5. Evernote Business

            Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

            The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

            Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

            Check out the software here!

            Communication

            6. Slack

              Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

              Check out the software here!

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              7. Spike

                Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                Check out the software here!

                Creation

                8. Office 365

                  Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                  Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                  You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                  Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                  Check out the software here!

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                  9. Grammarly

                    Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                    Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                    Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Team Analytics

                    10. ActivTrak

                      ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                      The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                      Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                      Check out the software here!

                      The Bottom Line

                      Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                      More Productivity Tools

                      Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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