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LG Smart TVs reportedly spying on your viewing habits

Luke Johnson by

LG TV data
Your LG TV could be watching you...

If you own an LG Smart TV, your living room focal point could be watching you, as new reports suggest the Korean manufacturer’s televisions are spying on users’ viewing habits.

A UK blogger going by the name DoctorBeet has claimed that his internet-connected LG Smart TV is sending data back to the company on his viewing habits. While this will be worrying enough for some, it appears that LG Smart TVs are tracking consumers’ TV usage even if they opt out of the viewing analysis.

With LG claiming it uses the data to offer targeted ads to its TV users, the company’s Smart TVs feature a settings option dubbed “Collection of watching info.” While this is set to ‘ON’ as default, users can opt to turn it off. However, it has now been suggested that LG has prying eyes regardless of users’ wishes.

According to DoctorBeet: “It turns out that viewing information appears to be being sent regardless of whether this option is set to On or Off.”

He added: “This information appears to be sent back unencrypted and in the clear to LG every time you change channel, even if you have gone to the trouble of changing the setting above to switch collection of viewing information off.”

Of even more concern, it has been suggested that the LG TVs are transferring not only data on users’ viewing habits, but files stored on external drives connected to the TVs.

“I made an even more disturbing find within the packet data dumps. I noticed filenames were being posted to LG's servers and that these filenames were ones stored on my external USB hard drive,” DoctorBeet stated.

With the claimed privacy breach one which is sure to concern many LG Smart TV owners, the company has been quick to respond, stating it is already looking to amend any potential issues.

In a statement to TrustedReviews, an official LG spokesperson stated: "Customer privacy is a top priority at LG Electronics and as such, we take the issue very seriously.”

They added: “We are looking into reports that certain viewing information on LG Smart TVs was shared without consent. LG offers many unique Smart TV models which differ in features and functions from one market to another so we ask for your patience and understanding as we look into this matter. We expect to have more information for you very shortly.”

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Go to comments

tom

November 20, 2013, 2:04 pm

Be warned, LG, Samsung and Vizio are all handing your data to ad networks

itsallgonepearshaped

November 20, 2013, 3:15 pm

And if Sony, Samsung, et al aren't already doing this, I'll be VERY suprised. Just wait for the Apple TV... :-)

alukard

November 20, 2013, 4:18 pm

True, apple TV may be one of the worst offenders of this. All the companies should be inspected for this breach.

MrAnno1366

November 20, 2013, 8:41 pm

Already suspected this kind of thing. My friend bought a 2013 60" Samsung Plasma which displayed some suspicious behaviour in the form of leaving a hidden files which contained a log of the files played from USB devices during the time it was plugged into the TV. We joked about how it probably sent data back to Samsung in one form or another but whilst we were joking we both there was a dark and very serious chance it was true.
Neither of us know enough to be able investigate properly (like many here can) but we did do a basic test of shutting all his internet traffic off and then just turning the TV on and checking for data transfers on his network which seemed to behave when powered on and used but spiked the moment the TV was turned off!
People with real knowledge in this subject need to get involved and put a stop to this snooping which is obviously going on!

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