Revealed: Creepy LG smart TVs accused of spying on viewers

LG has been accused of spying on its users, with its smart TVs reportedly set up to send back details of every channel change and file viewed on the device to the consumer electronics giant.

According to claims in a blog post republished by Ars Technica, LG smart TVs send back a string of unencrypted data to LG every time a user changes channels, including the time, channel name and a unique device ID.

Likewise, when users watch a video clip of a USB stick, the name of the file is sent to LG.

While the device’s settings menu includes an option to switch off the collection of user data, which is set to “on” by default, the data continues to be sent even if the option is set to off.

For its part, LG is apparently blaming retailers for the issue.

“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,” LG says in a statement.

“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.”

At present, LG does not appear to have switched on the servers to collect the data, with a 404 error being returned each time a data packet is sent.

However, in a promotional video, LG promotes its ability to collect user information for its Smart Ad service.

“LG Smart Ad analyses user’s favourite programs, online behaviour, search keywords and other information to offer relevant ads to target audiences. For example, LG Smart Ad can feature sharp suits to men, or alluring cosmetics and fragrances to women.

“Furthermore, LG Smart Ad offers useful and various advertising performance reports that live broadcasting ads cannot, to accurately identify actual advertising effectiveness.”

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