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LG looks into claims that its smart TVs spy on viewing habits

LG is investigating claims that its smart TVs broadcast information about viewers’ habits. 

The investigation follows allegations made by a UK-based IT consultant who described how his LG TV was sending data back to the firm about the channels he was watching. 

On his DoctorBeet blog, Jason Huntley, a 45-year-old IT consultant from Hull, also claimed that the TVs sent back information about the contents of devices attached to the televisions. This, said the consultant, happens even when a viewer has activated a ‘no sharing’ privacy setting. 

Credit: Jason Huntley
Too clever for words? LG is looking into claims that its smart TVs were sharing customers viewing habits

Read Recombu Digital’s guide to LG Smart TVThe claims could have potential legal ramifications for the manufacturer as the UK Information Commissioner’s Office said it was looking into the matter. 

“We have recently been made aware of a possible data breach which may involve LG Smart TVs,” a spokesman told the BBC

“We will be making enquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken.” 

Huntley carried out analysis on the data being sent from the TV. He found that data was being sent back unencrypted and information regarding external devices plugged into the back of the TV, such as files on a USB stick, was also being sent back. 

“It would easily be possible to infer the presence of adult content or files that had been downloaded from file-sharing sites,” he said. 

Huntley speculated that the information might have been sent back so that the manufacturer can show ads to viewers that are tailored to their viewing preferences. 

A spokesperson for LG said that “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.”

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