You can always count on the U.S. government to strain at a gnat but swallow a camel. Although disturbing, the alleged spying by “smart TVs” (an oxymoron if there ever was one) from Samsung is something consumers can escape by purchasing a different brand or simply sticking with “dumb” TVs (or, perhaps better yet, no TV at all). Unfortunately, however, there is no opting out of massive surveillance by the NSA and other alphabet-soup agencies. Nevertheless, the ever reliable Minnesota Senator Al Franken has once again emerged to apply his investigative rigor to the former rather than the latter. Franken “is investigating the privacy policies of LG and Samsung Electronics for the voice recognition technologies they use in their Smart TVs,” according to John Ribeiro at Computerworld.
A former comedian, Franken obviously understands how to get people laughing. Initially a supporter of NSA surveillance (although his stance has apparently softened somewhat), the senator seems to be more worried about companies who sell stuff based on metadata—as opposed to government agencies, which “kill people based on metadata” in the words of former CIA director and Emperor Palpatine lookalike Michael Hayden. “The senator also wanted to know if the companies shared or sold data they collected about viewing habits of users to third parties,” according to the article. One would imagine that drone victims can at least rest (in peace) assured that their metadata is safe in government hands alone.
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