LG Admits Smart TVs are Behaving Badly, Vows Firmware Fix for Spying Issue

Following widespread media attention over an allegation that LG's Smart TVs had the nasty habit of beaming viewing habits back to the mothership even when that option is turned off in the settings, the south Korean electronics maker fessed up to the situation and promised to issue a firmware fix to stop the behavior.

The author of the DoctorBeet blog made some noise about the issue after he discovered that all kinds of viewing information was being transmitted back to LG without his consent. There is a setting to disable the function -- "Collection of watching info," which is turned on by default -- but turning it off didn't seem to have any effect.

Even more troubling is the discovery that LG's Smart TVs routinely scan connected USB drives, sending back unencrypted file names. The DoctorBeet blogger tested this by creating a fake video titled "Midget Porn," which sure enough ended up being transmitted back to LG.

LG Smart TV

Since then, LG said it would investigate the issue and has now fessed up that some of its TV sets do in fact collect channel, TV platform, and broadcast source data even when the feature is turned off, Engadget reports. LG added that when the feature works as intended, it helps provide viewing recommendations to other LG Smart TV owners.

LG also admitted to spying on file names located on connect USB devices, which it's been using for an upcoming service that scours the Internet for additional information on films and TV shows.

Going forward, LG says it's working on a firmware fix that force its Smart TVs to stop collecting data when a user turns the feature off.