Over Consumer Objections, LG Smart TVs Collect Data on Viewing Habits

LG-Smart-TVSome owners of LG Smart TVs have filed legal complaints, saying their viewing data was mined and sent to LG without their knowledge or that they lost access to key TV features when they declined to accept LG’s privacy policy.

The company previously admitted to collecting viewing information without the consumer’s knowledge. LG said Smart TVs were collecting data for the purpose of customizing the advertising consumers would see on their television screens. LG apologized, promising to update the TVs to allow viewers to disable the data-collection feature.

The data collection surfaced when a tech blogger discovered his viewing information was being sent to LG’s servers by his routers. The Smart TV, he explains, collects information in much the same way web sites collect information from computers through the use of cookies. But the blogger found that the Smart TV continued collecting data even after he followed the steps to activate the privacy settings, according to Digital Trends and unencrypted information was being sent to LG every time he changed the channel. Personal file and folder names, which contained family information, were sent to LG when he connected a USB device to the Smart TV.

“[S]ome Smart TV services may be restricted,” including Internet-based features like iPlayer, Skype, and 3D, LG warns, if the consumer does not agree to changes in the privacy policy. The Consumerist said this is LG’s attempt to retain the right to mine users’ viewing habits, even when users view cable or broadcast television, and to respond with advertising from within the LG Smart TV software.

To use certain Smart TV features, viewers have to create an LG SmartWorld account, which may be subject to additional terms.  They may have to provide such information as name, address, telephone number; date of birth, email address, and possibly credit card information or PayPal details, the company says. Under the agreement, LG can access Internet search data, which may be shared with third parties, The Consumerist reports.



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