Tuesday, 19 November 2013

WTF LG

Err? "Collection of watching info: On"

And greyed out, so no option to turn off?

WTF LG? Really?


Update: There are legal issues here. If I, as the installer, click "accept" on some LG terms that allow details of my viewing to be sent, I cannot necessarily enter in to any contract on behalf of other users of the TV in my household. If they change channel and the TV tells LG, that may be a criminal offence by LG for that to have happened as they have no consent to such data collection from that person. Criminal!

14 comments:

  1. Looks like they also collect filenames from usb sticks you plug into the tv.
    http://doctorbeet.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/lg-smart-tvs-logging-usb-filenames-and.html

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  2. I bet your TV has a little camera on it too.Perhaps used to detect how many people are watching. Hope you don't dance around nekkid ;-)

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  3. It also looks like it doesn't matter whether the option is greyed out, since they send the tracking info regardless of whether it's "on" or "off"

    Oh dear, amother manufacturer to avoid.

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  4. That's a good part of why the 'Smart' part of my "SmartTv "is setup is a raspberry Pi and not part of the TV at all.

    Although a general distrust and dislike of consumer electronics firmware is more to the point as well.

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  5. Many of these issues are the same issues EULAs have, and yet they seem to be seen as legally enforceable - i.e. when some software pops up an install-time EULA, someone has to "agree" by clicking through it, but there is no way for the vendor to know who clicked through - it may have been a third party engineer, the user's child, the user's cat walking across the keyboard, whatever - the point is that it may not have been the user so I don't understand how it can be considered legally binding for the user.

    Another interesting thing I've seen brought up elsewhere is what happens when a vendor pushes out a firmware update that demands you agree to some new EULA before you can use your device again - is it legal to hold someone's property hostage like that? I would be inclined to say that in that case the EULA should certainly be unenforcable since it was agreed under duress, but is it legal for them to even try? Second to that (and this is something we see in software updates for other devices all the time) - you buy a device with some specific functionality, is the manufacturer legally allowed to push out a firmware update which removes/breaks some of that functionality?

    I would love to see all shrinkwrap contracts declared illegal - contracts are supposed to be a negotiation between two parties, not a one-sided dictation of some oppressive terms. The idea of shrinkwrap contracts seems fundamentally unfair for the consumer.

    Finally, I find the idea that I need to agree to a contract for something like a TV that I've bought outright to be completely bonkers - whatever happened to the idea of going into a shop and buying something and then its yours to do with as you want? How long until I get home from Tesco to find I need to agree to the shrinkwrap contract printed on the side of the bottle of milk?!

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    1. Someone on uknot has kindly found some of the key consumer law points.
      http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/2083/schedule/2/made
      Which bans, for example :-
      "enabling the seller or supplier to alter the terms of the contract unilaterally without a valid reason which is specified in the contract;"
      "enabling the seller or supplier to alter unilaterally without a valid reason any characteristics of the product or service to be provided;"

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    2. so when apple removed the youtube app from my phone that was illegal?

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    3. The "valid reason" stuff is a bit handwavey...

      And how does that work for software EULAs (particularly for boxed software bought on the highstreet)? They seem to be considered legally binding, even though they weren't something that was agreed to at purchase time. (I guess the likes of Microsoft have a "if you don't like it you can return the product" get-out, but that still sounds like "altering the terms of a contract unilaterally" since your only alternative to agreeing is to return the product for a refund).

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    4. if done unilaterally, I would assume so. If done as part of an optional, separate agreement to upgrade to latest IOS, maybe not.

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  6. Looks like LG is going to have some well deserved fun in court and the media... You, The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/20/lg_smart_tv_data_collection/) are probably just a start.

    How long before they backtrack???

    Just checked my LG "SmartTV" standing in the guest room (so no way my guests agreed to be spied on) but even after upgrading the firmware I still don't see the option (will still have to check packet capture to see if it sends anything back to LG).
    Anyway bought it at the time because it was supposed to work with Plex, Allowing my guest to help themselves to my DVD collection without having to come in the living room to pick up the physical DVD, but it never worked :-(
    (maybe I should ask to be reimbursed and drag them to court if needed as it never fit the description.....)

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    1. Didn't took that long... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/22/lg_tv_spying_statement/
      Let's see when the patch is available

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  7. and some...
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20131119/06503625288/lg-smart-tv-caught-collecting-data-files-stored-connected-usb-drives.shtml

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  8. Picked up by BBC News...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-25018225

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