LG to update smart TV firmware

November 21, 2013 18.07 Europe/London By Robert Briel

LG_CloudLG said it is planning a firmware update to its smart TVs in order to address issues with data collection of viewing behaviour.

Meanwhile, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has opened an investigation into a possible data breach by LG.

The manufacturer is reacting to reports that its smart TVs are gathering information from its owners without their consent.

In an email to Broadband TV News, LG said it found the following after investigating the claims that there is an issue related to viewing information allegedly being gathered without consent.

“Information such as channel, TV platform, broadcast source, etc. that is collected by certain LG Smart TVs is not personal but viewing information. This information is collected as part of the Smart TV platform to deliver more relevant advertisements and to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching. We have verified that even when this function is turned off by the viewers, it continues to transmit viewing information although the data is not retained by the server. A firmware update is being prepared for immediate rollout that will correct this problem on all affected LG Smart TVs so when this feature is disabled, no data will be transmitted.

“It has also been reported that the names of media files stored on external drives such as USB flash devices are being collected by LG Smart TVs. While the file names are not stored, the transmission of such file names was part of a new feature being readied to search for data from the internet (metadata) related to the program being watched in order to deliver a better viewing experience. This feature, however, was never fully implemented and no personal data was ever collected or retained. This feature will also be removed from affected LG Smart TVs with the firmware update.

“LG regrets any concerns these reports may have caused and will continue to strive to meet the expectations of all our customers and the public. We hope this update clears up any confusion.”