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LG vows to address TV spying concerns

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Following claims that its Smart TVs were spying on users’ viewing habits, LG has vowed to launch a firmware update to address privacy concerns.

Earlier this week a British-based blogger discovered that his LG Smart TV was transmitting data on his viewing patterns back to the Korean manufacturer, even after he had deselected a settings option entitled “collection of watching info.”

Having been quick to respond to the claims, LG has now stated that it will launch a firmware update for its Smart TVs, ensuring users’ privacy and data is no longer encroached upon.

“At LG, we are always aiming to improve our Smart TV experience,” an official spokesperson for the company announced in a statement issued to TrustedReviews. “Recently, it has been brought to our attention that there is an issue related to viewing information allegedly being gathered without consent.

“Our customers’ privacy is very important part of the Smart TV experience so we began an immediate investigation into these claims.”

Detailing its findings, the company added: “Information such as channel, TV platform, broadcast source, etc. that is collected by certain LG Smart TVs is not personal but viewing information. This information is collected as part of the Smart TV platform to deliver more relevant advertisements and to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching.

“We have verified that even when this function is turned off by the viewers, it continues to transmit viewing information although the data is not retained by the server. A firmware update is being prepared for immediate rollout that will correct this problem on all affected LG Smart TVs so when this feature is disabled, no data will be transmitted.”

With the privacy concerns extending not only to viewing habits but users’ data stored on externally attached USB drives, LG has revealed it will also cease collection of such information.

“It has also been reported that the names of media files stored on external drives such as USB flash devices are being collected by LG Smart TVs. While the file names are not stored, the transmission of such file names was part of a new feature being readied to search for data from the internet (metadata) related to the program being watched in order to deliver a better viewing experience,” the company’s spokesperson said.

“This feature, however, was never fully implemented and no personal data was ever collected or retained. This feature will also be removed from affected LG Smart TVs with the firmware update.”

LG concluded that it “regrets any concerns these reports may have caused and will continue to strive to meet the expectations of all our customers and the public. We hope this update clears up any confusion.”

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