With smart TVs watching our every move, will consumers simply tune out?

10 Feb 2015

Following reports of Samsung’s smart TV privacy policy, which allows the company to snoop on perhaps more than you expected, many have called for a review of the industry.

If anything, an erosion of trust in smart technology helps no one, with businesses and consumers alike potentially missing out.

Indeed the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in Dublin is a critic of the current ‘norm’, claiming more user control – with regards to smart technology – could enhance the industry to no end.

“The rate of data capture is accelerating all the time, creating a valuable resource for business, public services and research,” says Oliver Daniels, CEO of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics.

Smart decision-making down to confidence

“We need to put the user in control or the public will lose confidence in big data and the benefits it can offer in terms of smart decision-making.”

“We need to completely rethink our relationship with data. Existing definitions of ownership do not work in the data space.”

The Insight Centre recently put forward a ‘Magna Carta for Data’ plan, “which would define the rights and responsibilities of data use and put citizens back in control of their own data”.

“Data research is progressing rapidly and there is a concentration of research expertise in Ireland. As a leading centre for data analytics innovation in Europe, Insight has a critical role to play in ensuring that individual and public interests are embedded in research and innovation,” says Daniels.

Not everyone is behind it

This plan was hardly universally loved, however, with some privacy advocates coming out against it.

The inclusion of a sentence like, “We have progressed so rapidly that the term ownership is obsolete,” is about as incendiary to privacy advocates as possible.

Actually, so is, “the almost exclusive focus on the privacy of the individual, while politically popular, is potentially damaging to progress.”

Both these lines come from the Insight Centre’s Magna Carta proposal. Mass data retention with an acquiescing public, good. Mass data retention with an unimpressed public, bad. But either way, progress, progress, progress!

However, what’s no doubt true is that the general consensus towards implied permission, and blanket acceptance of all things digital is no longer guaranteed. It will be interesting to see what comes of the Magna Carta after it channels its way through so many filters in the EU.

What we’re left with could be far from what we want, and how we police it will be far more difficult than what we think.

Spy image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic