Is your LG Smart TV spying on you?
As technology gets smarter, the people behind it get sneakier. Take for example, the LG Smart televisions which, it turns out, are able to log viewing information in order to serve targeted ads to its customers.
New research from IT consultant Jason Huntley showed that his new LG Smart TV was targeting adverts at him on his Smart landing screen because they'd slyly been collecting his data. You may think that it is pretty obvious that smart technology would store some data about a user, but there's a catch.
"There is an option in the system settings called 'Collection of watching info' which is set ON by default," he wrote. "I decided to do some traffic analysis to see what was being sent. It turns out that viewing information appears to be being sent regardless of whether this option is set to 'on' or 'off'."
Huntley found that the Smart TV recognises when you're changing channel and logs what you're watching. This data is sent unencrypted to LG's servers. On top of that, filenames from an external hard drive attached to the TV also get sent off to LG.
Now, in LG's defence, there was a corporate video on their website aimed at advertisers which said: "LG Smart Ad analyses user's favourite programs, online behaviour, search keywords and other information to offer relevant ads to target audiences." However, LG have removed that from their website, which is a bit suspicious. Either way, this customer profiling is something customers agree to in T&Cs. However, LG are going to look into it.
"Customer privacy is a top priority at LG Electronics and as such, we take this issue very seriously," said a spokesman. "We are looking into reports that certain viewing information on LG Smart TVs was shared without consent."
If data is being collected without consent, LG could be found to be breaking the law. Should you want to stop this from happening on your TV, visit DoctorBeet - Huntley's blog - where he gives advice on ways to shore up you telly.