South Korean electronics giant LG has confirmed that some of its smart TVs have been logging their owners' viewing habits without their permission and has promised a patch. Hull, UK–based developer Jason Huntley, aka "DoctorBeet," was first to notice the spying behavior when he analyzed network traffic coming from his LG TV …
>>Will all the TV's (anything else? BluRay players?) that do this get patched or only stuff less then a year old?
Realistically, I think you need to assume yes - everything else is probably doing the same. Me personally, I had already been thinking of updating my firewall setup to stop devices like this initiating outbound connections.
" I had already been thinking of updating my firewall setup to stop devices like this initiating outbound connections."
...which would have to be done with a bit of finesse, as there's content-delivery services in among the spook-drops and advertising servers. Next thing you know, the baked-in Netflix stops working.
With no disk inserted in an affected DVD drive, it would simulate a disk with their bluebirds utility. Along with autorun, so if you were stupid enough to have that enabled, it would insist on reinstalling itself every time.
Their firmware update introduced absolutely no changes except bluebirds was taken out. They _insisted_ it was for the betterment of its customers there too. They also _insisted_ it wasn't malware, regardless of the fact that it _silently_ installed itself, without any user confirmation, agreement to do so, or any indication in fact.
I'm sure there were other examples, but for me, I gave up on them a long time ago.
"don't take it personally" my arse.
Don't take it personally, but if you are naive enough to believe that anything that you connect to any public facing communications channel is 'private' then here's a clue... You are wrong. Corporations have no morals. Governments have no morals. Makes me wonder sometimes why I bother to even try to be nice. Or legal, for that matter... Corporations and governments can get away with (literally) murder, why not we plebes? Let anarchy reign on everyone's parade!
NSA, Microsoft, Apple et al... You started it. Make sure that you can finish it, mates....
It's strange how their attitude changed once the story was picked up by news media. They originally told people "too bad, you agreed to it in the T&C's. Go complain to the retailer you bought it from."
The problem with their latest response is they don't even act like it's an issue, let alone a privacy issue. Because they don't take the issue seriously, I'll no longer seriously think about buying their spyware infested products.
My previous two LCD purchases were LG products. Yesterday I needed a new monitor. In the wake of this scandal, and LG's f**k y*u attitude to customers who approached them I decided to vote with my feet. A few days ago I'd have been looking at a shiny new LG logo under this very screen I'm typing on, instead it says HP. LG, if you're listening, your bad behaviour isn't just immoral, it also affects your bottom line and doubtless ultimately your stock price.
they must have had a VERY fast session on "damage limitation" and decided to kill the story before it gets picked up by mainstream media under the "your LG telly spies on you!" headline. Let's face it, even the most outrageous story of global proportions published by the Register (or any other non-mainstream) media will sink in no time - unless it gets picked up by the big boys. Or rather: unless the big boys decide to pick it up.
"The problem with their latest response is they don't even act like it's an issue, let alone a privacy issue. Because they don't take the issue seriously, I'll no longer seriously think about buying their spyware infested products."
Indeed. The worst part of the whole debacle is the general attitude and the fact that LG seriously doesn't seem to think there is anything wrong with what they are doing.
How is viewing information not personal? Isn't it a person doing the viewing? :-)
Their statement that the data's not been collected is farcical--anyone who has ever administered any webserver knows full well that the httpd logs have a full record of every single one of those POST operations, regardless of the response code sent.
I had a notion when those 'smart' TVs started coming out that they'd be too vulnerable an attack vector, but I was thinking that the attack would materialize through bad actors' compromise of poorly patched proprietary firmware in the set, rather than active vendor exfiltration of information.
My decision to avoid purchasing such a device is looking wiser every day.
Has anyone checked to see whether Panasonic, Samsung, Vizio and so on are doing the same? Anyone believe them if they say they'll never do that? Believe them enough they'd let their "smart" TV go ahead and download firmware updates and install them on its own?
Why do you need to plug any of these into the network? Or if you do (for remote control) to let them access the internet? Netflix? Youtube? Yeah, as if you don't already have a half dozen other devices that can do the same...
"Has anyone checked to see whether Panasonic, Samsung, Vizio and so on are doing the same?"
Panasonic (sadly, as their kit has been rather nice and loved their CRT TVs) made my do-not-buy list when they decided its a good idea to have a GUI that serves you adverts. It's not like they give you the TV for free and recoup it with advertising money. No, they sell it at profit and then want advertising money on top.
Since they'v been beaming people's potentially confidential data (RE: The USB media filename thing) - With personally identifiable information attached (IP Address, et al?) - Why aren't they worried about repercussions from lawsuits as a result of breaching data protection?
IANAL but I'm sure this opens them up to something in the form of a legal challenge for being so careless with potential confidential(ish) data.
I hope this is picked up in the USA as they have class-action lawsuits to make it worth while for the lawyers to go after them for compensation.
Sadly the worst likely to happen here is a ICO slap on the wrists. I hoped the BBC and so on would cover it on national TV, that would be fitting punishment for the company - to have its amoral behaviour aired the way its customers where being aired.
"is not personal but viewing information," the statement explains. The information is collected, it says, in order to provide "more relevant advertisement"
It doesn't collect any personal information, but uses what it collects to try and serve more personalised information. This is an explanation only a marketing person (overshadowed by counsel) could make with a straight face. How could it make adverts "more relevant", unless it understood the personal characteristics of the person it's targetting?
How could it make adverts "more relevant", unless it understood the personal characteristics of the person it's targetting?
So true. What I choose to watch, particularly from a locally served file, is certainly personal and although it is all above board, I would object to anyone thinking they have a right to know and process that information.
And besides, their argument is blown out of the water by the fact that they are snooping on shared files of whatever type - nothing whatsoever to do with media consumption.
Well, credit to LG for encouraging such a wide discussion of a significant privacy and security issue which has been lurking for quite a while.
Marketing think you only need to change what you call something to make it ok.
An email blast is not spam, it's an email blast. And it's totally unfair when they put us on a black list for spamming because it was not spam, it was an email blast. (a real conversation with the head of marketing where I used to work).
Quite sure all the manufacturers are/will be doing it. And you can gurantee that government is being allowed access to the data for "security purposes". They'll use that data to determine what kind of person you are and categorise you appropriately, so that they can prioritise who to round up when the hammer falls.
If they determine that you have files from wiki leaks, then you're obviously a dangerous terrorist. Put him on the list.
If you have hard core porn then you could be a potential rapist. Put him on the list.
If you have lots of TV shows, you're probably a pirate. On the list.
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