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]firstname.lastname@example.org[/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?)