Sshh... the magic lantern might be listening

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St Valentine’s the third. In my relationship at least.

Yes, the girl who, for more than quarter of a century, mocked all those luvvie-duvvies pouring into Clinton Cards and the like, has for the third time (THIRD, who’d have believed it?!) been deliberating over what gift to present The Boy with this weekend.

Not too long after Christmas, and certainly not close enough to the next pay day, gift-giving at this time of year always proves something of a challenge. Particularly if you’ve missed - or in my case not paid attention and subsequently forgotten - any of the little hints dropped over the past few days.

Really could do with a new sweater? Dying to read so-and-so’s latest novel? Would cut off your left arm for lunch at what’s-his-names new place? Maybe, but one is damned if she can remember the detail. If only someone else had been listening in. Another set of ears. Maybe I could ask the TV.

No, one isn’t having a Shirley Valentine (though that would be fitting at this time of year) talking to the wall moment.

Reports this week revealed that our televisions - or those produced by Samsung at least - have the potential to listen and record all of our personal conversations, passing details on to ‘third-parties’, influencing the adverts which those of us without fast-forwarding capabilities are forced to sit through.

Our TVs watching us. Now there’s an irony. And, as many pointed out this week, all a little ‘1984’. Yes, the revelation has proved strikingly similar to a passage from George Orwell’s dystopian novel, in which he describes a screen attached to the wall, picking up any sound ‘above the level of a whisper’. Hmm, sounds familiar.

Now, one isn’t suggesting the manufacturer has truly wicked intentions, but it is a little shocking to think of the capabilities of modern technology. Of course a defence was quickly launched against the claims. Owners of these ‘smart’ (too smart perhaps) TVs can turn off the voice recognition software if they desire, and Samsung assures its customers that any information gathered in such a way will not be sold to third parties, nor will it be retained and use in future.

But still, do I like the idea, even the possibility, that my television can pick up and share my most-private conversations? Not really. Unless Stevie-the-TV has told The Boy to head down to Tiffany’s this week.