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:
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.