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All I wanted for Christmas was privacy

Just before Christmas the Industry Mole was the victim of a burglary. His Cornish bolthole was burgled and a few items stolen. Nothing too valuable and insurers soon paid out.

However, arriving at the house two days before Christmas there was an immediate need to replace items, especially the TV which is central to Mole family life. With limited choice at the Penzance branch of Curry’s we quickly picked out the latest Samsung Smart TV and took it home.

After three hours of trying to get the thing working I gave up and we all spent our first night playing cards in front of a roaring fire. For me it was a perfect family evening but for my wife and kids all they talked about was the TV shows they were missing and berating me as they contemplated spending Christmas without a TV! It turned out that the thieves had also stolen a small white box that powered the aerial, hence no signal. But, quickly fixed, the TV shone bright in the corner of the front room.

The reason I mention the above is that the TV we purchased was a ‘Samsung Smart’ one. Fortunately we had no internet so we didn’t connect it up and have all the features working, which turns out to be relief as I now read about the gross invasion of privacy that Samsung has admitted to over the past few days in respect of its smart TV’s as it turns out they can ‘listen’ to conversations made in front of one of its ‘state of the art’ TV’s while the voice recognition button is on.

I’m sure they would be bored listening to my conversations, and it definitely wouldn’t compare to an episode of Gogglebox, but the fact that this could be a legal practice in the UK and a company the size of Samsung feels that it is ethically right really does concern me.

And I believe it is just the tip of the iceberg too. We are all quickly becoming used to sharing our digital secrets with companies without ever giving thought to who can see it and what they do with it. We click on the ‘I agree to your terms and conditions’ button without ever reading the 100 page PDF that is behind the link. We upload photos, files and information into the Cloud without considering the security issues behind what we are doing. Most people never change their passwords and make it all too easy for somebody to work them out using the most basic of personal information.

Looking back at my own house break in, it is clear that my security wasn’t good enough. An old back door with a lock that looked ancient. No security lights, no deadbolts, no alarm and the house empty for long periods.

My belief is that we need to look at our own cyber security in the same way and make sure we don’t allow just anybody to invade our privacy and steal our digital possessions without our permission. How we do that, I’m not too sure though!
Comments please to industrymole@imagereportsmag.co.uk

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