Are SMART TV's Watching You?

Is your internet connected TV sending your viewing habits over to the manufacture? The post below illustrates just that. Not only are the channels you’re watching being sent, but the filenames on any external media (USB stick) are also sent. The findings below pertain to an LG SMART TV.  The illustration below shows the preference screen....

 

 

After some investigation, a rather creepy corporate video advertising their data collection practices to potential advertisers was found. 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.

 

It turns out that viewing information appears to be sent regardless of whether this option is set to On or Off.  A unique device ID is transmitted, along with the Channel name "BBC NEWS" and a unique device ID. This information appears to be sent unencrypted and in the clear to LG every time you change the channel, even if you have gone to the trouble of changing the setting above to switch collection of viewing information off. Not only is the channel your watching sent to LG but the the filenames of any files stored on an external USB are sent.  While is it understood why LG wants to display ads and gather "viewer watching data", it is hardly understood why LG wants to know what is on your USB media???

 

Original research and more information is found @ http://doctorbeet.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/lg-smart-tvs-logging-usb-filenames-and.html

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