WikiLeaks adds to Samsung headaches
For a company that has been mired in negative headlines for months, just about the last thing Samsung Electronics Co needed was news its smart televisions (TVs) could be used to spy on users.
According to documents released by WikiLeaks, that is exactly what the Central Intelligence Agency did with a programme called “Weeping Angel”.
In essence, it uses a television’s microphone, a feature designed to allow voice commands, to pick up and transmit information while the device appears to be switched off.
While Samsung wasn’t the only company named in the WikiLeaks documents — Apple Inc and Google also got a mention — it’s still a problem for the South Korean giant.
The maker of Galaxy smartphones has been struggling to recover from the debacle of exploding Note 7 smartphones that have cost it billions of dollars while heir apparent Jay Y. Lee is set to stand trial on charges of bribery and embezzlement in an influence-peddling scandal. The trial starts today.
“This can’t be good, with some damage already done to its global profile recently,” said Hwang Jang-sun, a professor who specialises in communications at Seoul’s Chung-Ang University.
“Consumers could feel they are risking their personal security when they consider buying Samsung TVs. What matters ultimately though is whether Samsung was aware or not and blame could shift depending on future findings.”
Samsung said the company was aware of the WikiLeaks report and was urgently looking into the matter.
According to documents released by WikiLeaks, Samsung’s smart televisions can be used to spy on users.