Is your Smart TV spying on you?

Back in late 2013 a story hit the news that LG Smart televisions could be spying on their owners. I wrote the piece below about this explaining how LG were gathing veiwing and other information to target advertising.

The story seemed to disappear but it seems it did not go away. In early 2017 the American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined USA based brand Vizio for gathering remotely information on its customers viewing habits. In this case it would seem that Vizio were passing on a lot of information about their customers to third parties. This is described in an article titled “What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen” on the FTC web site.

Hopefully manufacturers will not invade privacy in this way in future. I will not hold my breath.

The 2013 article on LG Smart televisions

Could your state of the art Smart TV set be snooping on you? Is it sending data about your viewing habits and other information back to the TV manufacturer and other third parties?

I have just come across an article titled "LG Smart TVs logging USB filenames and viewing info to LG servers" on a web site called "Doctor Beet's Blog".

The author discovered their LG Smart TV was displaying adverts on the menu screen. Intrigued they did some digging and found a video promoting something called LG Smart AD to potential advertisers.

The article's author then decided to do some further investigation, and being tech savvy they examined what data was actually being sent to LG over the internet by their television set. They found that every time they changed channel the station ID (for example BBC 2) was relayed unencrypted back to LG. More disturbingly they also realised file names stored on external hard drives and USB memory sticks were also being sent.

This information is obviously being used to target which adverts the TV shows, maximising the revenue LG get from the TV set you have purchased.

The article is well worth reading. I found it rather eye opening. There is also a rather lively discussion under the article.

One wonders if other TV manufacturers are doing the same? What about the makers of plug in Smart TV adapters?

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