Lawmaker looks to ban smart TVs in California

Devices with voice recognition devices are becoming more commonplace but few realize that such technology can work both ways.

California lawmakers are drafting legislation that would ban the sale of smart TVs that can send voice recordings without the user’s knowledge.

Companies that use voice recognition software say the recordings are only used to improve voice commands but privacy advocates say that consumers have a right to know their conversations could be recorded, even when they are not using voice command functions.

Lawmakers similarly ask what happens if those personal conversations are hacked?

“I think when a television starts recording the conversations that families are having in private homes that’s where we need to draw the line that is something that probably should not be allowed in the state of California, said Assem. Mike Gatto, D-Burbank.

The bill will be introduced by the newly created Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection. While the legislation only targets TVs with voice recognition software such as Samsung’s smart TV, new products from smartphones to Barbie dolls have the capability to record and upload conversations without users’ knowledge.