SACRAMENTO — The state Assembly has passed a bill that would make it illegal to monitor unauthorized private conversations and records through a home television.
AB 1116, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) and joined by members of the Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection, was approved by the full Assembly on a 72-0 vote.
The measure would require manufacturers to ensure their television’s voice-recognition feature cannot be enabled without the consumer’s knowledge or consent. AB 1116 also prohibits manufacturers from utilizing recordings for a use not intended by the consumer.
In that way, it preserves the ability to control a television with voice commands, or to make a Skype call using a television, but prohibits manufacturers from using recorded speech to generate targeted advertisement.
“A family’s home is their castle. Yet new technologies have breached the walls, and now even a family’s most private moments are at risk from the Big Data hordes,” Gatto said.
Much to the dismay of civil libertarians, reports have surfaced that televisions can record and transmit private conversations back to the manufacturer or a third-party without the knowledge of the user. While some manufacturers have inconspicuous warnings tucked away in their user manuals, consumers are largely unaware that what they say can be monitored, recorded, and transmitted to a third party, say, for targeted advertising.
“It might be a little creepy if the family discussing financial issues finds themselves receiving targeted commercials from bankruptcy attorneys as they watch their favorite show,” Gatto said.
“AB 1116 will give the consumer the ability to personally determine the level of privacy protections inside their home. We’re not trying to stymie technological advances or fetter profit margins. The television industry has survived for nearly 100 years without knowing what I said to my wife during an episode of “The Bachelor.”
The measure will now moves to the Senate for further consideration.