What do Samsung’s SmartTV, the Xbox One and Google’s Chromium browser have in common? According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), each are among the increasing number of “always on” devices that may be recording conversations of individuals without their express knowledge or consent. EPIC has outlined its concerns in a letter to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking for an investigation of “always on” technology practices.
“Always on” devices often contain functionality through which the consumer can activate a feature using voice commands, such as to change a television channel or initiate a voice-to-text browser search. EPIC asserts that, in some cases, the monitoring of conversations is taking place even when the device is turned off.
The many questions raised by “always on” technology include:
- the manner in which communications are captured, stored, shared and retained
- what security measures are used to prevent misuse of the communication data?
- what laws, including federal or state wiretap laws, apply to “always on” devices?