Your LG Smart Television knows what you watch and sends that info, unencrypted, to LG marketing

vbimport

#1

Original URL: http://doctorbeet.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/lg-smart-tvs-logging-usb-filenames-and.html:

After some investigation, I found a rather creepy corporate video advertising their data collection practices to potential advertisers. It’s quite long but a sample of their claims are as follows:

LG Smart Ad analyses users favourite programs, online behaviour, search keywords and other information to offer relevant ads to target audiences. For example, LG Smart Ad can feature sharp suits to men, or alluring cosmetics and fragrances to women.
Furthermore, LG Smart Ad offers useful and various advertising performance reports. That live broadcasting ads cannot. To accurately identify actual advertising effectiveness.

In fact, there is an option in the system settings called “Collection of watching info:” which is set ON by default. This setting requires the user to scroll down to see it and, unlike most other settings, contains no “balloon help” to describe what it does.

So what does LG have to say about this? I approached them and asked them to comment on data collection, profiling of their customers, collection of usage information and mandatory embedded advertising on products that their customers had paid for. Their response to this was as follows:

Good Morning

Thank you for your e-mail.

Further to our previous email to yourself, we have escalated the issues you reported to LG's UK Head Office.

The advice we have been given is that unfortunately as you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer.  We understand you feel you should have been made aware of these T's and C's at the point of sale, and for obvious reasons LG are unable to pass comment on their actions.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Kind Regards

Tom
LG Electronics UK Helpdesk
Tel: 0844 847 5454
Fax: 01480 274 000
Email: [email]cic.uk@lge.com[/email]
UK: [premium rate number removed] Ireland: 0818 27 6954
Mon-Fri 9am to 8pm Sat 9am-6pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm

I haven’t asked them about leaking of USB filenames due to the “deal with it” nature of the above response but I have no real expectation that their response would be any different.

So how can we prevent this from happening? I haven’t read the T&Cs but one thing I am sure about is that I own my router and have absolute jurisdiction of any traffic that I allow to pass, so I have compiled an initial list of internet domains that you can block to stop spying and advertising on TVs that we, as customers have actually paid for.

ad.lgappstv.com
yumenetworks.com
smartclip.net
smartclip.com
llnwd.net
smartshare.lgtvsdp.com
ibis.lgappstv.com

This will free you from seeing ads plastered on your screen and having your viewing habits monitored, whilst it should still allow firmware updates to be applied.

Well, you did agree to it! (You had to, because otherwise no tv whatsoever, but who’s judging eh?)


#2

This is the huge benefit that all the digital laws passed by gov’ts have handed to vendors and middlemen - tracking and data-collection is so much easier and more detailed.


#3

I think the ultimate answer is vote with your wallet and don’t buy LG Smart TVs. :stuck_out_tongue:

[B]Wombler[/B]


#4

I just sent them an email telling them that I will not by anything LG until they stop this.


#5

In fact, there is an option in the system settings called “Collection of watching info:” which is set ON by default. This setting requires the user to scroll down to see it and, unlike most other settings, contains no “balloon help” to describe what it does.

It turns out that viewing information appears to be being sent [B]regardless of whether this option is set to On or Off[/B].
LG Executive: Muwahahahaha evil laughter


#6

Of course, none of this passes into Mr. LG’s hands directly. It comes thru your ISP, who’s been capable of collecting this anyway. Or it goes thru your digital TV station’s servers. Or your Cable Provider.

Those 3 entities probably hate this ability too. “Hey, Jerk, we used to sell this info to you! Now you’re gettin’ it for free?!! I don’t THINK so-!!”


#7

In addition to the usage tracking and privacy issues there’s also the concept of value for money.

LG generate advertising revenue from this data. If that revenue isn’t factored into the price customers pay for a usage tracking TV then it’s not the value for money customers think it is when compared to TVs that don’t track usage.


#8

this is what VIZIO said when I asked them the same question. I like vizio tvs better anyway

Thank you for your recent inquiry with VIZIO. I would be more than happy to help you. Here at VIZIO we do offer best in class technical support.

Our TVs are not designed to collect any info on what our customers watch.


#9

“…not designed to…”

Of course, that’s exactly what Digital Signals do. The ACK-NO-ACK has always been data to collect, and LG’s merely trying to get this themselves without paying the distributors, who are collecting this info anyway.

I just wonder where all these supposed cost-savings come into? “Oh, well, without us stripping extra value out of you, you’d be paying kajillions more.”

Yeah? Wanna bet?

But once Cinavia gets into every transmission form, we’ll see how willing everyone is to pay someone for our ‘privilege’ of entertainment. Wait until Cinavia hits cell-phones… “after 3 minutes, deposit more credit cards…”


#10

I don’t think blocking Internet domains will solve the advertising issue for long, especially if they create new ones and issue a firmware update to use the new domains.

My suggestion would be to unplug the TV’s network cable or change the Wi-Fi key (if connected by Wi-Fi) and get a decent set top box for watching online content, e.g. Android TV.

I know it means a small up-front cost, but that’ll at least put a plug in the advertising, plus not being locked into the limited number of apps/features LG has. :slight_smile: