If you have an LG TV, beware. The government is spying on you, but your TV may be, too. British authorities are looking into the possibility that LG is spying on the viewing habits of its television users. What will they do with the information? Send it to advertisers, of course. Friendly reminder: LG is the second largest TV-maker.
The Smart TV apparently has an option to collect viewing data, but users are unable to control whether this option. A commission spokesman told BBC News: "We will be making inquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken."
The allegation was made by a technology blogger, who is identified as DoctorBeet. He found that his TV was sending viewing information to an offline LG URL. He disabled the "Collection of watching info" in the settings menu, but he believes that his viewing data was sent out to the LG web address regardless of his settings. Because of the 404 errors at the site, it appears that this option is not currently in use, but there is nothing stopping LG from utilizing this data, save a proper investigation and a potential lawsuit.
Not only would this data give information on viewing habits it would als ogive information on the types of files a person watches. This information would not be encrypted either. That means that someone could potentially break into the system and easily interpret the data. A spokeswoman for LG said: "Customer privacy is a top priority at LG Electronics and as such we take the issue very seriously. ... We are looking into reports that certain viewing information on LG Smart TVs was shared without consent."
It is unknown how ubiquitous this issue is for Smart TVs. It is possible that DoctorBeet's is an isolated incident. Yet apparently there are many LG devices that have similar capabilities. There are even some smart refrigerators that are capable of delivering these ads.
DoctorBeet was fortunately able to block the websites that his Internet-connected TV can send information to. But for those of us who are less tech savvy than that, we'll have to see what the investigation brings up.