back to article You THINK you're watching your LG smart TV - but IT's WATCHING YOU, baby

LG smart TVs silently log owners' viewing habits to the South Korean company's servers and use them to serve targeted ads, one researcher has claimed. According to Yorkshire, UK–based hacker "DoctorBeet," the internet-enabled sets try to phone home to LG every time a viewer changes the channel, giving the chaebol the ability …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Exit Stage Right

    So the server returns a 404 - does that mean there is no application or an application that stores the data and then returns a 404?

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Facepalm

      > So the server returns a 404 - does that mean there is no application

      > or an application that stores the data and then returns a 404?

      I'll bet there's a server that stores the data, and then returns a 404. This way the router does not cache the access, hereby hiding the URL. It also gives LG a plausible denial.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    404 does not necessary mean

    the http request has not been logged on their servers. It's all they need. Bastards!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 404 does not necessary mean

      > the http request has not been logged on their servers. It's all they need. Bastards!

      It's also quite cunning in an evil way; they are using fewer resources as they don't have to bother serving a legit page.

  3. Turtle

    "Smart".

    "LG smart TVs silently log owners' viewing habits to the South Korean company's servers and use them to serve targeted ads, one researcher has claimed."

    Well that's why they're even called "smart TV's" in the first place, now isn't it?

    1. Joefish
      Black Helicopters

      Re: "Smart".

      Now try to imagine yourself in the living room. You get your first look at this sixty inch LED as you sit on the sofa. And you keep still because you think that maybe its control sensors are based on movement like X-Box – it'll lose you if you don't move. But no, not Smart TV. You stare at it, and it just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two Smart TVs you didn't even know were there...

  4. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    For shame

    Shame on LG. I really hope this article gets more play than just on the Register.

    1. Cliff

      Re: For shame

      So LG have removed themselves from the trustworthy list, as have Sony (rootkits anyone?), Apple, Google, Samsung have started territory locking their handsets for no good reason, the Chinese brands are probably worth holding reservations about, Nokia is Microsoft.

      Anyone suggest a good phone?

      1. RWNW

        Re: For shame

        I'm holding out hope for Jolla when it hits the market. My own pet hate currently is the relentless "permission creep" on android apps. Seriously why does the latest update to Dropbox want access to my contacts?

        1. Steve Loughran

          Re: For shame

          Even stranger: why does the First Great Western train app want to view my call history?

          Permissions Manager does a good job of cranking these rights back -because Android doesn't

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: For shame

            .... and the number of apps that startup on boot, even though there is clearly no need....

      2. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: For shame

        BlackBerry?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For shame

      Shame on LG. I really hope this article gets more play than just on the Register.

      It has already appeared on Risks Digest. As far as I can tell, this is a simple, plain vanilla breach of Data Protection laws (as no explicit permission was asked) and if this cannot be disabled, the TV may have to be taken off the market in any country with a working Data Protection regime (think the whole of Europe).

      I thus think that LGs "meh" response is not acceptable. The first thing I'd do if I was in the UK and had one of those TVs was to dig up who the LG's Data Registrar is and send a Data Subject Access request. If they cannot provide that data they are in breach, and if they can they are in breach too because they'll have to prove they warned me this was going to happen and they got my explicit permission. I can't see that happen.

      Methinks they got themselves somewhat of a problem. I hope they haven't sold too many of those TVs, and I hope the firmware can be upgraded..

      1. 7-zark-7

        Re: For shame

        I think LG are suggesting that he accepted the t&c. Somewhere deep in the small print is the permission to collect the data.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: For shame

          I think LG are suggesting that he accepted the t&c. Somewhere deep in the small print is the permission to collect the data.

          Nope, that does not count as informed consent. You must be informed of what they're going to store and given the opportunity to say yes or no.

          1. jonathanb Silver badge

            Re: For shame

            Well you are given the opportunity to say no, but they still collect the data anyway.

            1. TonyHoyle

              Re: For shame

              Example of an LG TV with spying enabled and no option to switch it off:

              http://revk.www.me.uk/2013/11/wtf-lg_19.html

              Maybe they 'fixed' the buggy option by removing it completely...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For shame

          I think LG are suggesting that he accepted the t&c. Somewhere deep in the small print is the permission to collect the data.

          That would be a direct violation of Data Protection Act principles in the UK, more exactly the "fairness" principle. It is not permissible to include this permission in 4 point light grey text on white whilst referring to a statement available in the local planning office's cellar in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard" and consider that a "fair" approach (I'm paraphrasing here a bit, thank you Douglas Adams).

          In my opinion and experience LG's answer is most certainly NOT going to fly if a complaint is filed, and I personally think a formal complaint is essential to get to the bottom of this. LG's response demonstrates they are either aware that they have broken the law, or are so clueless that don't even know that law exists. Both situations call for a somewhat abrupt education IMHO.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Meh

            Re: For shame

            "In my opinion and experience LG's answer is most certainly NOT going to fly if a complaint is filed, "

            So it would seem that a complaint needs to be filed for the ICO to start taking action.

            Would anyone (who has an LG smart TV) care to do the honours?

          2. Steve Loughran

            Re: For shame

            Close

            Actually its hidden in the policy that is only available on the TV (search terms don't find it online), viewable on 50 pages if you scroll down that "opt out settings" menu to find a menu option that is off the window, then select "legal". Everything bar the "beware of the leopard" sign

            http://steveloughran.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/television-viewing-privacy-policies-and.html

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_l/sets/72157637867348596

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For shame

        The subjet access suggestion stands or falls by whether or not this information actually constitutes personal data and based on what is in the article I'd say it probably isnt . Thats not to say that this type of monitoring isnt of concern.

        As for who the data controller is that'll be LG, the 'corporate person' holds the statutory responsibility rather than any specific individual.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For shame

          The subjet access suggestion stands or falls by whether or not this information actually constitutes personal data and based on what is in the article I'd say it probably isnt .

          That depends a bit on what sort of engineering efforts are behind this collection to tie the data to a person. The moment the information becomes personally identifiable there is an issue.

          But actually, you could be correct - this could fall under the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act instead, and I'm not entirely sure how the permission framework for that operates (not my area of expertise). Maybe a small sentence "by using this device you give us permission to do whatever the hell we like with your usage data and whatever else we find on your network" at the end of the contract is all it takes to make that legal. The fun starts when that is NOT enough to make it legal, because RIPA violations are as far as I know criminal, which could make this a rather entertaining "mistake".

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: For shame

            What about 'theft of broadband data allowance' or 'unauthorised access to internet connection' etc.?

      3. bigtimehustler

        Re: For shame

        It probably wouldnt have to remove it from sale to be honest, it could just stop their servers listening for the data. It could also supply a firmware update automatically.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: For shame

          "It probably wouldnt have to remove it from sale to be honest, it could just stop their servers listening for the data"

          You'd trust that?

      4. btrower

        Re: For shame

        Re: "I hope they haven't sold too many of those TVs, and I hope the firmware can be upgraded.."

        Not me. I hope they sold so many that it bankrupts the company. I have an LG TV. I will be contacting them...

    3. Wize

      Re: For shame

      I got mine before they got smart (no internet connection at the time) so it is not on my network. Was looking for something with DNLA for another room, but LG can go spin on it now.

      Not that it would have mattered, it won't be able to tell what channel I'm watching on Sky.. What's that? Sky log details too?

    4. Mick H

      Re: For shame

      I read this on the BBC 1st

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linked to the TV Guarantee card

    They receive the guarantee card filled in with your name and address and the card has the TV's serial number on. The serial number will be sent with the data, because that's what creeps do.

    I know these guarantee card systems are stored in a database for marketing purposes. So it's just an SQL Join to pull up your individual viewing habits.

    So actually what they're doing is sending themselves a *personalized* detail of what you watch. These are then business records which can be sold on to anyone for any reason.

    Perhaps they send a flag too "didn't consent to the collection", and store the data in a "lockbox" instead of a "database". Sounds familiar?

    Simply boycott LG products, all of them, because if they do that with TVs think what they're doing with their smartphones, that computer, even the guarantee card for the toaster has lots of data. That can be sold on, your email address the lot could likely be sold. Because any company with that attitude has no reason to protect your data.

    EU Privacy directive applies, and should stop this, but I'm not expecting anything from government when there are so many and apparatchiks in power. You could sue? The UK equivalent of a class action lawsuit?

    1. dan1980

      Re: Linked to the TV Guarantee card

      Right with you but do people really fill out warranty cards?

      1. doronron

        Re: Linked to the TV Guarantee card

        These TVs surf the net don't they? Does LG also get the internet surf data? Because that links to 'selectors' like email etc.

        I see it sends the details of DNLA (media on your local network) played, and the details of of USB stick files played. So I bet they send stuff about the apps run, and internet surfed.

        A person that would think its OK to spy on people, doesn't draw a line at how much data they grab. The 'grab it all'.

      2. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        Re: Linked to the TV Guarantee card

        "Right with you but do people really fill out warranty cards?"

        Especially with the rulings on 'expected life' of a device.

      3. Fihart

        Re: Linked to the TV Guarantee card @dan1980

        "............do people really fill out warranty cards?"

        Probably not usually, though on a major purchase I guess many might. There's no need to register the warranty with the manufacturer because the warranty makes no difference to rights under Sale Of Goods Act which long outlast 12 months. The obligation falls on the retailer not the manufacturer.

        Most retailers will happily repair or replace within warranty period on production of the sales receipt because the manufacturer will foot the bill. Outside the 12 months the branch staff are likely to deny liability but a call to the shop's head office and mention of Small Claims usually sorts that out.

      4. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Linked to the TV Guarantee card

        "...do people really fill out warranty cards?"

        Not in Europe where there are enforceable consumer rights whether you fill it in or not, but in the less civilised and more predatory bits of the world, where the corporation is king and the consumer is cannon fodder, it's pretty common to be refused a refund or replacement on some shoddy piece of crap simply because you didn't provide the manufacturer (or more commonly these days the repackager/distributor) with a piece of cardboard containing enough personal information for them to steal your identity.

        Australia. Why do you ask?

      5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Meh

        Re: Linked to the TV Guarantee card

        "Right with you but do people really fill out warranty cards?"

        How much is the product?

        Toaster, hair dryer not so much.

        Big screen smart TV.

        Bit more I think.

  6. dan1980
    Flame

    Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

    Oh, fuck right off.

    I just bought a second LG TV because I was so impressed with the interface of the first one. I liked the remote and the way it worked but this is just not. fucking. on.

    That said, I don't actually use the 'Smart TV' features and really have no desire to. Mine certainly isn't connected up to my network and won't ever be. Still, it shows that LG are viewing the people handing over their hard-earned not as loyal or valued customers but as cattle to exploit.

    If anyone from LG is reading these comments*, be very clear on this: this is not welcome. It is not okay. I will not buy another LG product unless you promise to stop this.

    I am a 'techie'. I am the one that friends and family come to for recommendations about anything that runs on electricity. I will advocate against buying any LG product. More immediately, I am buying my mother a new TV to replace her aging CRT. I was absolutely going to buy an LG thanks to my satisfaction with my own units. This will no longer be the case. Again, it doesn't matter that she will never connect it to the Internet, nor play video from a USB HDD.

    * - If not then, well, I feel better getting that out anyway, but I know that large companies like LG do indeed employ people whose job it is to research customer sentiment, gleaned via forums and blogs and 'social media'. So, if there's one browsing this thread, put a '1' down in the "previously loyal customers lost due to greedy, intrusive, dickbag move" column. Love, Dan.

    1. Tommy Pock

      Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

      I was going to get a G2. Now I'm not. That was easy, thanks LG.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

        True enough. I'm a pretty loyal chap and am generally tolerant of problems but treat me like a chump once and you may never get my business again.

        I suppose that's the same with lots of techies: we've got money to spend, we like new toys and we play favourites, so we can be a pretty good market for such companies. Screw us over, however . . .

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

      Exactly my thoughts. I have an LG TV but even before this there was no way I would connect it to the internet.

      As a result of this 'ET habbit', LG joins Samsung and Canon on my 'Do not buy list'. The last two are for appalling responses to legitimate warranty claims. Anon because one of them is more than likely going to end up in court.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

      this is just not. fucking. on.

      Don't say that here - go to ico.org.uk and file a complaint. That's the only thing that will change this.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

      I will not buy another LG product unless you promise to stop this.

      Unfortunately, while absolutely right approach, LG (and others) can, and WILL happily ignore such (empty) threats. Because, very soon down the line, most, and then all tellies, by all manufacturers, will do exactly the same. And 99,999% of consumers WILL buy LG regardless. Or Sony. Or any other "brand". So the refusenicks, like you, are irrelevant, in terms of lost revenue potential. The main heard will chew happily. And even if you don't buy their telly, you'll buy their toaster, mobile, fridge. Or one of them by another brand. And, at some point, you will not be unable to operate them at all, unless they're "connected", because it will be a "design feature". Want Windows 7? Have to activate. No internet? Sorry.

      Because, hey, you got it all wrong, this is ALL for your own benefit, those logs are there so that you consume wonderful, (revolutionary) ads based on your personal profile, tailored by our carefully chosen business partners. Why would ANYONE not want this?

      1. Jim 59

        Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

        Well said AC but it won't pan out like that. Eventually, people will get what they want, and what they want is privacy. The message will gradually seep out until the whole population becomes mega-paranoid about *any* privacy incursion. They will be even more anal about it than they were at any time. It will be a zeitgeist in 2050.

        In the meantime techies can foil the snooping one way or another. Eg the owner of an LG TV could hook up an alternative like a WD TV live or similar.

      2. dan1980

        Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

        @AC 11:06

        That's my fear, mate.

        It's all a bit foil-hat but it keeps happening. I feel the same about Steam - lots of people love Steam for the convenience and (sometimes) cheaper prices but every single purchase from Steam reinforces the video game industry's belief that online DRM is acceptable.

        It's got to the point where it's even threatening to spill over into consoles, as evidenced by MS's desire to have online activation on the XBox One.

        The anti-foil-hat brigade spout the usual: "just don't use it then" but, as you have identified, if one company does it and gets away with it then others will too. Sooner or later, there really is no alternative.

        And you have it wrong - it's not 'advertising', it's a method to allow businesses to 'reach' and 'communicate' with their customers. Advertising; that's so last decade . . . : )

        1. Mike 29
          Trollface

          Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

          Comparing Steam DRM to (say) EA DRM is a bit like comparing a breath test to multiple enemas and a endoscopy procedure. http://americablog.com/2013/11/cops-anal-search-colonoscopy-3-enemas-man-rolling-stop-clenched-buttocks.html

          1. dan1980

            Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

            Perhaps, but the point I was trying to make, following from the AC's comment was that Steam has made it 'okay' to make Internet connectivity a requirement for playing video games on PC - regardless of if the game itself actually is an 'online' game.

            That's the core problem - once you have to be online to play a game, you have essentially given up your rights because the T&Cs can always be updated on the (e.g. Steam, Origin, etc...) client.

            That's all tangential to the story but was the point of what the AC and I were 'discussing'. (For want of a better word.)

            1. robmobz

              Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

              Actually on steam you only need connectivity once to download the game and link it to your computer, after that you can run it entirely offline.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

      And the Fanbois think their Apple TV doesnt?

      Xbox's do the same

      if you want to be in the "connected" world you have to assume it means people can see what you do with the "connected" device

      Me? i'd be more concerned about the RAT webcam exploit on the smart device than what data LG were recieving

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Clenches jaw, takes deep breath . . .

        Actual streamer appliances may need to keep track of what you are doing in order to tell you what you've already watched to to suggest something new. However, collecting this information in the course and scope of actually presenting you with content to watch is entirely different than what this LG TV is doing.

        LG is engaging in pre-emptive data snooping not related to any end user requirement.

        LG and anyone else that does this crap should be nailed to the wall by their family jewels.

  7. Denarius Silver badge
    Trollface

    if google, nsa et al al do it, why not monetise the info ?

    your are only meat to be sold on and to after all.

  8. M Gale

    *gasp* The surprise!

    But surely only Google does that kind of stuff?

    Nope. Everyone does. Too much money in it not to. Some perhaps to an extent that makes "right up to the creepy line" Schmidt look quite wholesome. Hate to say "I told you so" but...

    ...actually, no I don't. Told you so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *gasp* The surprise!

      While you have a strange way of expressing yourself, I'm also not surprised. I also have an LG smart TV. I use it for Netflix, LoveFilm and all that crap as well as streaming from a DNLA server on my Raspberry Pi.

      After a software upgrade I immediately noticed they were displaying adverts for fucking stock cubes. "Fuck that", I thought. I'm the sort of guy who removes car dealership's stickers from my car. If they're not going to pay me to advertise their company, I'm not going to. As for people who are happy to pay to advertise Gap or Aberscrotum and Feltch or whatever on their T-shirt, well, I personally just don't get it.

      Anyway, I googled it (who collected my search data, incidentally, along with my IP) and found out where the ads were coming from, and blocked them on my router. The adverts went away.

      This isn't going to go away, people. If you have a computer with an internet connection, you get tracked. If you have a phone, you get tracked. If you have a smart TV or an internet connected car or whatever, you get tracked. The only way you can stop this is to use open devices which you can control, or put the device on a network you can control. The government aren't going to do anything. They can't even make these knobends pay tax in this country and they're too busy serving their own interests. Why should they give a fuck?

  9. Zobbo
    Unhappy

    I've got an LG fridge

    Does this mean LG know I'm a fat b***ard?

    1. Thorne

      Re: I've got an LG fridge

      Yes. Yes it does.....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I've got an LG fridge

        Yes. Yes it does.....

        and it has THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOU: slimming yoghurt-style drinks, special introductory offer, but hurry up, the offer ends soon, in 3...2... 1

        Enter www.slimbastards.com, on your mobile, then your personal PIN as displayed on the fridge panel, then the unique 4355-number code, and you can collect the drinks from your local supermarkets NOW. And as we value your custom, may we suggest a special discounted pack of bog rolls, only 2.99 down from 2.95!

        And don't forget to set up a direct debit to save yourself precious time by having to pay in store! Yes, it's as easy as...

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: I've got an LG fridge

      Yes we do. We're also pretty certain that you didn't need that SECOND chocolate dessert at 21:57 on Tuesday.

      LG - Only thinking of your health

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So better start renaming your porn videos to Muppets(1...n).avi or even better Lg_get_stuffed(1...n).avi

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Renaming media

      shirley rename them to "drop table channels .avi" and similar variations?

      1. chris lively

        Re: Renaming media

        Someone already did this. That's why the URLs return a 404.

    2. MrDamage

      Muppets

      Only suitable for those "faust-ficking" videos. After all, Muppets seem to come alive once a hand is shoved up em.

  11. Mitoo Bobsworth
    Unhappy

    The only one?

    Has any enterprising techie/hacker discovered this in any other network capable tv's - Panasonic, Sony etc. Just curious to know if I need to unplug.

  12. Mike Bell
    Big Brother

    Ah, George Orwell's vision of the telescreen is but a heartbeat away.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Smart TV is urFriend and not AIFiendish Tool for Programs and Pogroms. Relax and take a Chill Pill

    Don't worry. Everything is under Command and Remote Control and working as is to be expected when Cold War Warriors do Battle Themselves with Red Hot XSSXXXX Ware. And in UKGBNI jurisdictions, something which the Office of Cyber Security can advise you about ..... that is if you can find any point of contact which is virtually enabled and electronically connected to exchange and reply to sent mail and/or sensitive harvested communications.

    Quite so, Irregular Shed. Spurious spontaneous irregular and unconventional harvesting of massively misleading content is a guarantee of chaos delivery to madness and mayhem.

    And if not a solution to encourage development change then also an application for Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems to micromanage macro disorder and possibly smarter hostile user base energies for increased controlled and controlling powers with imaginative synergies and virtually elusive and/or attractively divisive distractions/sweet sticky passions which breed insatiably satisfying needs and feeds ...... Immaculate Source Seeding of QuITe Sublime IntelAIgent Services to Servers with Global Operating Devices for the COSMIC Application ProgramMING Environments ..... Mined Intelligence/Mind Infiltration Networking Games Grids for Live Operational Virtual Environments and the Sheer Pure Hell of IT’s Addictive Pleasures and Fiat Treasures.

    And it would be pure speculation to imagine and posit that such as is freely shared there is a pre-emptive dump of info and intel in response to what be lost to Snowden from the Wild Wacky West and delivered in rapturous capture to the Exotic Erotic East .... but that in no way is to suggest that all or anything at all there is false whenever all is perfectly true. ..... amanfromMars said... 19 November 2013 21:43 in a retort on http://doctorbeet.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/lg-smart-tvs-logging-usb-filenames-and.html

    There's a heck of a lot of weird and wacky and wonderful stuff going on out there in CyberSpace. And there is nothing you can do to stop it with IT, and it would be crazy of you to try, .... so why bother whenever IT would identify you as certifiably mad and invariably also more than just a tad bad if into the servering of live-evil to combat one fears and peers.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Smart TV is urFriend and not AIFiendish Tool etc

      I'm fairly sure I understood all of that!

      This appliance eavesdropping is no different to the hundreds of apps out there that require permissions to all the interesting bits of your smart phones or tablets, they are all potential personal information drains.

      We need a Smart Blocker to filter all the info that leaves our modern devices and appliances to save us from Big Money and our governments assuming of course that the blockers are back door free.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Smart TV is urFriend and not AIFiendish Tool etc

        :-)

        We need a Smart Blocker to filter all the info that leaves our modern devices and appliances to save us from Big Money and our governments assuming of course that the blockers are back door free. ... Chris G Posted Wednesday 20th November 2013 09:01 GMT

        Good luck with that caveat, Chris G, not being developed ever further to ensure that it become ever more powerful and creative/invisible and intangible and/or whenever needed by those responsible and accountable in the field, disruptive and destructive, for of course that is also a possibility which can be chosen by that which be so active and activated.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smart TV is urFriend

      And there is nothing you can do to stop it with IT, and it would be crazy of you to try,

      With all due respect, dear Man, you're only partially right. The correct expression is "there is nothing you can do to stop it with IT alone".

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Smart TV is urFriend

        With all due respect, dear Man, you're only partially right. The correct expression is "there is nothing you can do to stop it with IT alone". .... Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 20th November 2013 09:36 GMT

        :-) Quite possibly so, AC, but it certainly cannot be stopped without Command and Control of IT for that is its Ubiquitous Agnostic Driver. And on further reflection and consideration would I offer a revised correction which expresses the reality ..... And there is nothing you can do, either alone or together with others, to stop it with anything ...... which I trust removes any lingering obfuscatory ambiguity about what ProgramMING in Live Operational Virtual Environments is all about.

    3. dan1980
      Thumb Up

      Re: Smart TV is urFriend and not AIFiendish Tool for Programs and Pogroms . . .

      I have almost no idea what you just said, good sir, but I compliment you on your near-pathological use of alliteration all the same.

  14. DougS Silver badge

    The only news here

    Is that they haven't caught the other smart TV vendors doing this yet.

    Seriously, given that Tivo, satellite and cable company DVRs all report viewing habits, having the TV do it is rather redundant. Maybe the really smart ones can tell what you're watching by sensing embedded codes in the audio (like Shazam does)

    Most people never "change the channel" on their TV, unless you count switching from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 as changing the channel...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only news here

      "Most people never "change the channel" on their TV, unless you count switching from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 as changing the channel..."

      It's network media played, USB file names etc. not just "change the channel" stuff.

      "Seriously, given that Tivo, satellite and cable company DVRs all report viewing habits"

      Well I've been stabbed twice today, so I guess 3 times isn't so bad! The real surprise is how many people *haven't* stabbed me today! What's the big deal, 3 stabbings, 4 stabbings, it just a little more blood loss. Perhaps people just haven't been caught stabbing me yet!

      Pity, the new apartment was going to get an LG TV, but not now.

      1. dan1980
        Thumb Up

        Re: The only news here

        @AC 7:23 - "The real surprise is how many people *haven't* stabbed me today!"

        Perfectly said.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LG Redefine "SMART"

    Sleazy Monitoring And Reporting Tool.

  16. Eradicate all BB entrants

    Has made me change my mind ......

    ...... about wanting a TV with DNLA. When I do upgrade the damn thing is never going on the network, my viewing choices would warp their fragile little minds :D

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    surprised that

    no one has written a flood lg with realistic but crap information app.

  18. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    DIY smart TV preferred

    As in my case, LG "dumb" TV with a RasPi running RaspBMC - instant "smart" TV without the spying...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is why I bought my own VDSL2 router; ISP ones are typically pathetic for security.

    All the better Draytek routers have configurable URL filters and a configurable firewall, so that you can block this nonsense, and it is useful for PC software which contacts addresses you rather they didn't, and you can filter incoming traffic too, to block the worst incoming traffic.

  20. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Kick them in the balls...

    What IP address does the URL resolve to?

    DoS anyone?

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Fuck you very much LG

  21. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Abandoned TV a few years ago cos there was nothing worth watching - rather glad I did now!

  22. Crisp Silver badge

    Any comment from the Police Central e-crime Unit El Reg?

    C'mon! You're supposed to be journalists! Ask questions!

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Any comment from the Police Central e-crime Unit El Reg?

      Any comment from the Police Central e-crime Unit El Reg?

      C'mon! You're supposed to be journalists! Ask questions! …. Crisp Posted Wednesday 20th November 2013 11:20 GMT

      Plod is as Plod does, Crisp, and autonomous independent proaction is not a usual remit they entertain to maintain and sustain.* Intelligence tells them what to do and what not to do, don't you know? Advises as to who and/or what escapes investigation and prosecution for the good of DODgy systems and bank balances or, if you prefer to wander about in the strange world of smoke and mirrors, national security.

      *Despite what PM Cameron spouted today in PMQ to a question posed by Peter Hain.

      PM squawk with forked tongue, Kemo Sabe.

  23. Bugs R Us

    No big deal

    Anything that helps lower future cost of consumer electronics is fine by me. If the resulting targeted advertising means I get more of what I already like to view, great. There could be lots of content I'd like but I'm not aware of. Do you really think advertisers care what we view? Of course not, they are just interested in the trends, to match consumer to producer, regardless of the product.

    There are no usernames or passwords involved so no need to worry about encrypting data of real importance. As for embarrassing content being served up, well what do you expect? Don't do embarrassing stuff while connected online.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No big deal

      "Do you really think advertisers care what we view?"

      <speechless>

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: No big deal

      Yes, because this will lower the price of consumer electronics...

      Or will they keep the price around what it currently is, and just tally the ad revenue as "bonus money". Why would they lower their prices when they can instead raise their profits, wile still being "competitive" on price @ the store?

      I say "HELL NO!" to this sort of crap. I get "If the service (or product) is free (or severely discounted), you are not the customer, you are the product." I refuse to pay for the "privilege" of being a product.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No big deal - 'Do you really think advertisers care what we view? '

      That's a pretty naive and flippant comment from someone whose posted over 400 times! The most disturbing LG 'feature' is the capability to spy on everything you access via USB!!!! Advertisers do care, and will try to monetize any info they can get their greasy hands on :- NOW READ BELOW!

      "My wife was shocked to see our children's names being transmitted in the name of a Christmas video file that we had watched from USB."

      "It was at this point, I made an even more disturbing find within the packet data dumps. I noticed filenames were being posted to LG's servers and that these filenames were ones stored on my external USB hard drive. To demonstrate this, I created a mock avi file and copied it to a USB stick.....Sometimes the names of the contents of an entire folder was posted, other times nothing was sent. I couldn't determine what rules controlled this."

  24. This post has been deleted by its author

  25. Steve Evans

    Oh dear...

    It looks like the days of vaguely trusting companies is now at an end...

    My home network shall be changing from a black list configuration to white list.

    Although a proxy which modifies any messages from the TV to those domains to include nothing but profanities is very tempting...

    Oh, and LG, I was just about to purchase one of your smart TVs... guess what, I won't be now, the Rasp Pi will be taking care of all the smart stuff from now on.

  26. Potemkine Silver badge

    'Privacy may be an anomaly'"

    Before, you were watching TV. Now it's the opposite, TV is watching you.

    1. MrDamage

      Re: 'Privacy may be an anomaly'"

      So now the meme would be;

      In Soviet Russia, you watch TV?

  27. joanbee

    Attorney field day.

    LG and the advertisers are probably not piviledged entities under most jurisdictions. So, if I want to know what the spouse has been watching, all I have to do is give my divorce/civil/custody attorney the ident associated with the televison, and they will ask LG and the advertisers for discovery. Yessss...

  28. Stuart Halliday
    Facepalm

    Well that's me not buying any future gadget from LG.

    I'll be making sure I tell my friends too...

    1. Michael Thibault

      Flight. Always works. Cover your own ass—it's within reach, after all.

      An opportunity likely to be missed in these circumstances is the eventual application, by actual people, of concerted and directed political pressure aimed at wresting something from the manufacturer—a quid pro quo worthy, perhaps, of Solomon. And quickly.

      That might be a precedent-setting 'arrangement' to allow users to usefully upgrade the firmware on the set in question (e.g. to allow the owner to point the data outflow anywhere they choose), or a general transfer of the intellectual property underlying the hardware involved to the public domain, in exchange for said manufacturer being allowed to continue to import into/sell into a specific country/bloc.

      For me, the issue is not the fact that LG (or any other company) would do this kind of thing; we're really just waiting for the next one to get caught out doing it. The only remaining surprise is the specific date.

      The concern I have centers on the truism that the wheels of justice grind so very slowly, and that legal fictions are impervious/insensate/invulnerable to anything analogous to pain, deprivation, or punishment of any kind. And they aren't subject to the one thing that actual mortals have in common. Which makes it more than a little tempting for big corporations to give underhand information-centric sleazeball tactics of all kinds a go. "Can't hurt, right!" That's what has to be changed.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    With the recent revelations of Spying and Snooping by advertisers & governments...

    ....LG must think we're all complete schmucks. They send the data naked and don't even include a remote kill switch to cover their asses..., So who are the greedy executives behind this, who blush at Facebook and Google profits, and long for a piece of the action?....

    After all that's all they care about, its crystal clear from the steps they've taken! This isn't some isolated Rogue Tech, but I'm sure they'll claim that it was, much like the Google Streetmaps execs did, until communications highlighted a deliberate dragnet policy!

    Overall, with such little concern for privacy or the law, it demonstrates how certain manufacturers and advertisers are completely stuck up their own asses. The BBC and others have picked up this story, so in this time of privacy and sensitivity it should be interesting to watch how this tale unfolds..

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It amazes me to think that people pay more...

    ........., sometimes a lot more for Smart TV's instead of a dumb plasma + laptop...

    ...........Smart TV's? .. What a con they've got running!!

    1. cracked
      Alert

      Re: It amazes me to think that people pay more...

      It's not the Smart-TV buyers that worry me (though I agree, Smart is only a good descriptor for those who are making/selling the things); it's the Smart Toaster Buyers giving me concern.

      * And the smart light switch owners (fingerprint scanner included, so that the power company can dob you in when you let your 3 year old stand on a chair to turn off the light in the lounge).

      * Not to mention the Smart Iron owners (starts bleeping when you are ironing your 4th shirt of the week - You do have another for the following day, don't you?!)

      * Smart fruit bowls (emails your doctor if five-a-day aren't removed and then replaced ... and yes, it does individually weigh and then photograph each fruit ... so there's no cheating!)

      *Smart The Big Bedtime Story Book (emails the authorities if you fail to provide a story at least every other night. 5 strikes and the kid is gone!)

      * Smart washing line (emails the local perv when there's something interesting to pinch ... yes, that one's been exploited; but then what did you expect? That the Chinese manufacturer who got 0.01 of a yen for the line - seven years previously - would carry on maintaining the firmware? You mad bro?)

      Honestly, if this sort of thing isn't reason for someone - anyone! - to pull the "Stop The Bus" chord and take the fine, then I don't know what is? No need to switch it all off; just a decent length pause while we all have a good long think ....

      In ten years time, every product with a plug, in every household in the Western world, will be chatting away to every company involved in its supply-chain. All with firmware that's 5 years out of date ...

      Honestly, someone yank on the chord. I'll pay the $50 ...

  31. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So what about their competitors?

    Is this just an LG thing?

    You've got to wonder, and I'm sure there's a few people out there ready to check their router logs or run NetShark.

    Looks like it's the same as the UK ID card b**lcks.

    No need to ask.

    No need to know.

    Now f**k right off.

  32. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    I'm amazed

    How did the Register missed the whole midget porn aspect of the story???

  33. Tromos

    Who monitors..

    ...the (LG) monitors?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cockroaches

    Looks like it might be time for those with the necessary equipment to check out other smart TVs too. What's the probability LG is the only one greedy and unprincipled enough to think of this bright idea?

  35. Longrod_von_Hugendong
    FAIL

    That is really enough...

    To put me off all LG things... In fact i think all smart TV's should be checked for this spewing of data.

    As for the letter, how can this be a retailer issue - they probably don't know that its sending information back to your servers. Asshats to the max for everything at the moment.

    I bet the UK Offices of LG don't know about it either. I can spot a WTF letter when i see one.

  36. Sceptic Tank
    Windows

    Ah, the "face of the future", was it? The future where advertising will be injected into your dreams while you sleep? Or maybe projected onto you eyelids when you blink.

    It looks like one would have to install some form of firewall to prevent your loose lipped appliances from talking out. Would that be possible? I'm no security expert ==>

  37. ajft

    Feed them false info?

    Anyone care to whip up some suitable perl or python or whatever the cool kids use these days to pull random media names from catalogues -- or even generate some -- then feed them up to LG to chew on? Sure, last tuesday I watched "My little pony vs the swamp monster, episode 17" ... it must be true, the computer says so.

    1. ammabamma

      Re: Feed them false info?

      Anyone care to whip up some suitable perl or python or whatever the cool kids use these days to pull random media names from catalogues -- or even generate some -- then feed them up to LG to chew on?

      I like the way you think. From henceforth, the TV will report chez Ammabamma watching the Weather Station 24/7.

      On a darker note, what happens when LG is "forced" to turn over the viewing list to the plod? How do you prove (since you have to bear the burden of proof nowadays) that those files and channels were what you actually watched what with the information being sent in the clear?

      Imagine sneaking onto someone's poorly secured WiFi network and seeding LG's reporting site with a few choice titles:

      - "A Beginner Jihadist's Guide to Overthrowing Western Society.wmv"

      - "Exploited Underaged Models - part 07 of 13.avi"

      - "Bomb Making Made EZ - A Video Guide.avi"

      - "The Comprehensive Review of Trainspotting.xvid"

      - "Gravity [2009] [CAM (Complete)] [pARAD0x_gROUp] [www.torrentmunchermoviebay.ch].avi"

      I am not sure about the first three, but those last two pieces of filth will definitely land you in hot water with the authorities.

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. chiller

    "the differentiated advertising experience that you always dreamed of"

    I refuse to believe that anyone dreams of an advertising experience.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since I only use my LG 47LA640V as a monitor

    for my TiVo or media player, they are welcome to slurp all they want from me. Not that it makes it any better.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Won't Work For Me

    Having Sky, they'd just see me watching a few hours of HDMI-1.

    Oh, but then Sky track me via the Digibox instead! :-C

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019