LG Electronics recently admitted that their new line of Smart TVs have been collecting information about viewing habits of consumers, and seemingly without viewers’ knowledge. The Smart TVs have allegedly been collecting viewer data to customize the advertisements seen by the viewer.
The monitoring confession from LG comes at a very inopportune time for the company, as the public seems to be interested in their own privacy now more than ever following the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden, the revelation of the wireless wiretaps, and Verizon’s selling phone records to the government earlier this year.
Jason Huntley, a blogger and IT consultant, randomly discovered the monitoring after he ran a traffic analysis on his LG SMart TV at home. Upon the analysis, it was revealed to Huntley that data collected on his viewing behavior from his LG SMart TV was being sent through his internet router to the LG servers, and despite having enabled privacy settings on the TV, data on his viewing habits continued to be sent to the LG servers.
Furthermore, Hutley determined that when a USB drive was connected to the LG SMart TV, file names contained on the drive were also sent to LG servers, which was reported by Digital Trends.
LG has since issued an apology to its consumers, and claims that any data collected from Smart TV viewers is not retained. The company also promised to update the Smart TVs to allow viewers with the option to “disable” the data collection.