California passes privacy legislation for smart TVs


The news that connected TVs and set-top boxes were listening in on their owners' conversations led the state of California to pass legislation (AB1116) prohibiting companies from operating a voice recognition feature without prominently informing the user or installer during initial setup. In addition, the bill bars manufacturers and third parties from using recordings of spoken words "collected through the operation of a voice recognition feature" in order to improve their voice recognition or "for any advertising purpose". The bill also barred law enforcement agencies from requesting tools to enable them to listen to those collected recordings. The bill, which passed in October 2015 and came into force on January 1, 2016, was sponsored by Mike Gatto, the chair of the state's Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.

Writer: AP, Keith Wagstaff
Publication: KRON4, NBC News, California legislature

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