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LG Admits Smart TVs Spied On Users

LG admits it collected information on consumers' viewing habits, promises firmware update to honor opt-out requests.

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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Ninja
11/22/2013 | 2:36:51 PM
Now all we need ...
Is to have an LG smart TV with a Kinect attached, and our TVs can not only track what we watch, they can watch us right back and report on whether we fell asleep during Letterman. Yikes.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2013 | 3:03:13 PM
Sheesh
"In response, LG's help desk told him that by using the TV, he'd agreed to certain terms and conditions and that he should take up any related complaints with the retailer that had sold him the television."

I know LG isn't the only offender here; they were just sloppy enough to get caught. But good grief, could they have provided a worse answer?

Every reporter going to CES this year now know what to harass LG about. You think 4K or OLED or some new smart TV interface will be the headline topic, LG? Well, count on every article containing at least some reference to whether customers can expect their LG TVs to spy on them.

William Welsh published an article today in IW titled "Consumer Privacy Protections Need Review, GAO Tells Congress." The timing couldn't be more apropos.

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
11/22/2013 | 3:34:44 PM
Re: Sheesh
Terms and conditions for consumer electronics? Software really is eating the world. I look forward to licensing agreements for home furnishings and clothing.
Tom Murphy
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Tom Murphy,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2013 | 3:54:43 PM
Re: Sheesh
Tom For T&Cs on that chair you're holding down, look for the little tag that starts "Do not remove this tag under penalty of law."  Packing materials for most chairs are also full of conditions that warn you about leaning too far back, stand on it, or do most of the other things that we all do once in a while.

 I have a ladder that warns me not to stand on the top two steps. Well, why do they have steps there?
Thomas Claburn
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0%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
11/22/2013 | 4:07:14 PM
Re: Sheesh
> look for the little tag that starts "Do not remove this tag under penalty of law."

That becomes worrisome when you add technology: With some wires, the right chip, and a power source, the removal of a tag could broadcast a message and prompt enforcement. As a simple printed warning, it's more silly than troubling.
jwaters974
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50%
jwaters974,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/22/2013 | 8:00:13 PM
easy solution -
don't buy LG products period
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
11/22/2013 | 10:48:38 PM
Re: Sheesh
@Tom: The second-to-top step is for your paint can and tools.  The top step is for your beer.  ;)
Brian.Dean
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50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 9:16:10 AM
Re: Sheesh
YouTube has been doing the same thing but we don't mind. And at times I have even liked it when YouTube sends me an ad to watch a 23 minute long TED Talk video in order to watch a 3 minute video that I have selected, even with the skip button I have watched their 23 minute advertisement.

I think the problem is that Smart TVs should not try to do things that the internet does, at least not at the same pace, and definitely Smart TVs should not rob my USB file names, that's something a legitimate internet company does not ever dream of doing.

So we watch YouTube and YouTube watches us, likewise we watch television and the television watches us , ok I can live with that but only if LG's Smart TVs are cheaper then say Samsung's Smart TVs.
FFrancisco
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FFrancisco,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 10:20:18 AM
Re: Sheesh
Any product that "makes recommendation based on users previous viewing preferences " is saving that info on a server somwhere. So Smart TV's as well as services are collecting data so they can provide the content the user is requesting. And yes, LG Smart TV's are considerably less expensive than Samsung Smart TV's.
Brian.Dean
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50%
Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2013 | 11:16:00 AM
Re: Sheesh
FFrancisco, yes you are right in that any service that makes recommendation is going to either have primary information or secondary information about a user.

But your last line is confusing me, yes LG and Samsung is there but then there is also Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic and not to mention so many others. Making a comparison between Classes might be possible if we isolate any two brands, but here both brands do not even have simpler Classes, and if we get into features, aesthetic design, picture quality, user interface and remote controls then it will all mount to preference.

The kind of benefits that data can provide would make a product so cheap that either everyone would be using the techniques or that the firm that is the only one using it would be at the top however, even with Samsung being the top 4 entries in a refined search that only lists LG/Samsung and Smart TV it would be unfair to say that Samsung is considerably less expensive because even the Classes do not match.   
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