Are you the proud owner of an LG Smart TV? With the ability to connect to WiFi and browse Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, LG Smart TVs are a great way to watch TV — but it turns out they’re also collecting some of your personal information. While LG isn’t stealing your address or credit card info, they have been collecting other types of private data without consumers’ permission.
Last month, LG admitted that its Smart TVs were collecting information about the shows watched by consumers, as well as information about files on USB drives connected to the televisions, such as photos or mp3s. Though the company has promised to fix the issue, consumers are still pretty irate.
No Real “Off” Switch on Data Gathering
Perhaps the biggest problem for LG is the fact that consumers who bought these Smart TVs were supposedly given the option to turn off the setting that collected their private information. Unfortunately, the Smart TVs continued to gather consumer data even after users thought they’d disabled that feature.
Consumers and privacy watchdogs were disturbed to discover that the TVs continued collecting private data about the user’s watching habits and USB files.
But as we mentioned, sensitive information like addresses, phone numbers or credit card numbers weren’t compromised, so LG Smart TV users aren’t at increased risk for identity theft or fraud.
LG Explains and Apologizes
Not all companies handle PR disasters like this with grace, and it’s worth noting that LG is being very forthcoming and honest about things.
As The Consumerist notes, LG released a statement:
“LG said that it collected that information for advertisers and also to offer viewers recommendations, but that it should be a setting that can be turned off.”
Just about everyone who uses an LG Smart TV would probably agree.
LG has issued a statement of apology, and has made sure to promise that Smart TV owners will soon be able to disable this feature permanently.
So, Now What Do I Do?
Nothing! Just hang out and try not to watch anything too embarrassing for the next couple of days. (Just kidding.) LG is going to send out a firmware update has been “prepared for immediate rollout,” so the problem should be resolved very soon. Your TV privacy will be restored once you update.
So tell us what you think: is it wrong for companies like LG to track your media-watching habits, or is it just a better way for them to market content that you actually want? Share your thoughts in the comments below.