LG looking into claim smart TVs grab user data (Update)

Nov 21, 2013 by Youkyung Lee
In this Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012 file photo, South Korean models pose with a CINEMA 3D Smart TV during a press conference to introduce the LG Electronics' television and the company's marketing strategy for 2012 in Seoul, South Korea. LG Electronics Inc. said it is investigating a claim that some of its smart TVs send information on home viewing habits back to the company without consent. The investigation comes after Jason Huntley, a 45-year-old IT consultant in Britain, detailed in his blog how his LG smart TV logged the channels he was watching and sent the data to LG. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

LG Electronics Inc. said it is investigating a claim that some of its smart TVs send information on home viewing habits back to the company without consent.

The investigation comes after Jason Huntley, a 45-year-old IT consultant in Britain, detailed in his blog how his LG smart TV logged the channels he was watching and sent the data to LG.

He said the company continued to collect which channel he was watching even after he disabled the information collection feature.

"The (LG) server acknowledges the successful receipt of this information back to the TV," he said in an email. The information appeared to be sent to LG unencrypted, he said.

Also collected were the names of files saved in an external USB hard drive plugged into the TV as well as the TV's unique identification information.

The world's second-largest TV maker said Thursday that customer privacy is its top priority and takes the issue very seriously.

However, when Huntley asked LG about the data collection last week, the company blamed a TV retailer for not disclosing the company's terms and conditions when he made the purchase.

"As you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer," LG said in an email to Huntley that outlined the response from the company's U.K. head office.

LG introduced an ad platform to target its smart TV users in 2012. The LG Smart AD lets advertisers reach target audiences by utilizing device information, location and details such as age and gender, LG says on its website.

However it was not immediately clear which features in LG's smart TVs were triggering the data monitoring.

"All we can be sure of is that the information is being sent," Huntley said.

He said was "very surprised" at the amount of attention he received with the blog post.

"This indicates that privacy issues are becoming increasingly important to people everywhere, as we are so dependent on technology in our everyday lives."

Separately, Samsung Electronics Co. said it does not collect information on files in USB hard drives connected to its smart TVs. But it did not respond to a question about whether it logs users' viewing habits. Samsung is the world's largest TV maker.

Explore further: Samsung, LG end patent dispute on display technology

5 /5 (6 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

LG to introduce Google TV at CES 2012

Jan 06, 2012

LG Electronics will introduce its highly anticipated Google TV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. LG Smart TV with Google TV combines the familiarity of Google’s Android OS with ...

Recommended for you

Five features an Amazon phone might offer (Update)

14 hours ago

A report this week in The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone has prompted industry analysts and technology blogs to muse about what the device might offer.

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Apr 17, 2014

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (1) Nov 21, 2013
Admiral Rickover was prescient for preventing computers in his enginerooms, demanding his operators be smarter than the machines they operated. Read Jonathan Zittrain's The Future of The Internet - and How to Prevent It.

More news stories

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...