LG has something hidden (from users) in its Smart TV settings for the advertisers. LG Smart TVs are reportedly sending detailed information about users’ viewing habits and names of computer video files stored on connected USB drives to LG servers without prior permission.
A blogger, Doctor Beet, reported this alarming discovery. He first noticed that his LG TV was showing ads on its home screen. He investigated the issue and discovered to his surprise a rather creepy corporate video advertising (LG) data collection practices to potential advertisers."
In fact, this hidden menu has an option in the system settings called "Collection of watching info" which is set ON by default. He turned off the option. But his LG Smart TV still phoned home with the names and times of programs and also the file names of every computer video he stored on his connected USB drive. And this data was sent to LG's servers.
Doctor Beet writes in his blog, "I decided to do some traffic analysis research to see what was being sent. It turned out that viewing information is being sent regardless of whether the option is set On or Off."
He contacted LG's customer service department and asked them the details regarding the phenomenon. He asked them "to comment on data collection, profiling of their customers, collection of usage information and mandatory embedded advertising on products that their customers had paid for." But he was told that logging user information is a fair practice since "unfortunately" he had agreed to LG's terms and conditions. He was also told that his concerns should be directed towards the retailer instead.
The full email response of LG customer services is as follows:
Thank you for your e-mail.
Further to our previous email to yourself, we have escalated the issues you reported to LG's UK Head Office.
The advice we have been given is that unfortunately as you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer. We understand you feel you should have been made aware of these T's and C's at the point of sale, and for obvious reasons LG are unable to pass comment on their actions.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us again.
LG Electronics UK Helpdesk