The South Korea-based LG Corporation has recently come under public scrutiny after it was discovered that its Internet-enabled television logs users’ viewing habits and creates ads accordingly.
According to Digital Trends, the technical glitch allows the smart TV to collect private data about users’ viewing habits, even after users have enabled the privacy settings preventing this function.
IT consultant Jason Huntley was the first to discover this issue, noting that “viewing information appears to be being sent regardless of whether this option is set to On or Off.”
“This information appears to be sent back unencrypted and in the clear to LG every time you change channel, even if you have gone to the trouble of changing the setting above to switch collection of viewing information off,” he added.
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U.K.-based hacked “DoctorBeet” noticed a similar problem, reports The Register.
DoctorBeet noted that the Internet-enabled TV attempts to notify LG whenever a viewer changes the channel, giving business the ability to track your every click. He also found that the TV could access the names of media he watched off of USB storage — a glitch he notes could be potentially embarrassing.
Most concerning, DoctorBeet added, is the fact that the transmissions are completely unencrypted, essentially inviting anyone with basic computer knowledge to see whether or not a TV is in use.
LG maintains that “no personal data was ever collected or retained” through this technical malfunction, and that the sole purpose of collecting customer viewing data was “to deliver more relevant advertisements and to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching.”
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According to Digital Trends, LG promises to fix the issue “that will correct this problem … so when this feature is disabled, no data will be transmitted.”