LG Accused Of Capturing Smart TV Viewing Data

Written by David Richards     21/11/2013 | 10:56 | Category: TVS & LARGE DISPLAY

Viewing and other information collected from people using an LG Smart TV are being forwarded back to the Korean Company a UK hacker site has claimed.

LG Accused Of Capturing Smart TV Viewing Data
According to the UK based "DoctorBeet," the IP enabled TV's send information back to LG every time a viewer changes the channel, it also identifies which movies are being watched minute by minute. 

LG Australia have just released this statement to CN: 

"Customer privacy is a top priority at LG Electronics and as such, we take the issue very seriously. We are currently looking into reports regarding viewing information on LG Smart TVs. 

"LG offers many unique Smart TV models which differ in features and functions from one market to another so we ask for your patience and understanding as we look into this matter. 

"We will share more information with you as soon as it is available."

The hacker who goes by the name "DoctorBeet," used a network packet-sniffing tool to identify that traffic was being sent back to LG. Users who view porn and other questionable sites are clearly identified Doctor Beat claims. When he raised the issue with LG customer service he was told that retailers should have informed him about the service and the collection of data. 

He said that the transmissions are completely unencrypted resulting in the TV becoming a means by which anyone with knowledge being able to hack into a home wireless network. 

DoctorBeet claims that LG is collecting this information so that they can serve advertising to users who own an LG TV. LG Australia is currently trialling the serving of advertising to their Smart TV network in Australia. 

An LG video describes their smart TV platform as "the differentiated advertising experience that you always dreamed of" the video goes on to claim "LG Smart AD enables publishers to maximize revenues through worldwide ad networks, intelligent platform to boost CPM and the remarkable ecosystem". 

Users of the Smart TV platform in Australia have no way of opting out of the data collection. 

DoctorBeet observed that while his TV did have an option called "Collection of watching info" in its settings menu, the data was still transmitted whether the option was set to on or off.

An initial response received by the blogger from LG's support was relatively unhelpful, advising that it has been escalated to LG's UK head office, and that the blame has been shifted to the retailer for not advising the customer on the TV's data collection activities.