Do appliances that are connected to the internet pose a risk to the average homeowner’s privacy?

According to CIA director David Petraeus, yes they can, in fact they will “transform surveillance“. As Petraeus says:

. . . Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells.

The resultant chorus of ‘connected’ gadgets will be able to be read like a book – and even remote-controlled . . . link

What does this have to do with Samsung? Take a look above at their UN65ES8000 LED plasma TV, that boasts of internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking and speech recognition. This TV can recognize faces of those viewing it and store their program preferences as well as other data. The camera and microphones can not be disabled (unless you use a hammer) (link To quote one review:

. . . While these features give you unprecedented control over an HDTV, the devices themselves, more similar than ever to a personal computer, may allow hackers or even Samsung to see and hear you and your family, and collect extremely personal data. . . Samsung has not released a privacy policy clarifying what data it is collecting and sharing with regard to the new TV sets and, while there is no current evidence of any particular security hole or untoward behavior by Samsung’s app partners, Samsung has only stated that it “assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable” in the event that a product or service is not “appropriate.

Ah-hem . . .

The TV can also listen and recognize voice commands and is connected (automatically) to the internet, which did not please Korea Telecom, since they tried to disable the TV’s connection, claiming it used too much bandwidth and could cripple their network (link. Naturally, Samsung disagrees with KT.

Meanwhile, could some enterprising hacker hack your smart TV and spy on you? The answer is “most likely”, it is possible because Samsung Smart TVs use a version of the Android operating system, which has already been hacked in cell phones, allowing a hacker to remote control the phone.  If the smart TV is connected to the internet, then it can be reached remotely.