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User Alleges LG TVs Phone Home With Your Viewing Habits

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the maybe-it's-just-coincidental-midget-porn dept.

Privacy 286

psychonaut writes "Blogger DoctorBeet discovered that his new LG television was surreptitiously sending information about his TV viewing habits, as well as the names of the files he watched on removable media, to LG's servers. There is an undocumented setting in the TV configuration which supposedly disables this behaviour, but an inspection of the network traffic between the TV and the Internet showed that the TV continues to send the data whether or not the setting is disabled. DoctorBeet contacted LG, but they shrugged the matter off, saying that it's a matter between him and the retailer he bought the TV from."

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it's a matter between him and the retailer (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45462567)

it's a matter between him and the retailer he bought the TV from.

So, according to their logic, if I came round and kicked their asses, then that's a matter between them and the shop I bought my shoes from?

Retailer (3, Funny)

lw54 (73409) | about 9 months ago | (#45462569)

Who did he buy it from, Sony?

Re:Retailer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462599)

No, Sony would still be the manufacturer. The retailer is the store from where he purchased it.

Re:Retailer (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462645)

Don't you get the sarcasm?

LG doesn't take responsibility for their products.

Re:Retailer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463245)

Sarcasm works when it's funny or intelligent. Your statement was neither.

Re:Retailer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462833)

Nope, from a South Korean company. None of them have any scruples.

Re:Retailer (0, Offtopic)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 9 months ago | (#45462907)

Nope, from a South Korean company. None of them have any scruples.

Unlike fine reputable American institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Exxon and Blackwater?

Re:Retailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463017)

What did that poor strawman do to deserve such a brutal beating?

Re:Retailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463193)

They are called Strawpersons these days.

Re:Retailer (1)

operagost (62405) | about 9 months ago | (#45463041)

I'm astounded at your grasp of logic.

Re:Retailer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463061)

Awwww, did I hurt your feewings by insulting your favorite corporations?

P.S.: I'm not an Americunt.

Re:Retailer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463263)

Not Blackwater! It's Xe you insensitive clod! Oh no, wait.. Now it's Academi, because we all went to American skulez and can spell reel good.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204319004577089021757803802

Re:Retailer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463377)

Big words from a lardass virgin. Does mommy need to pull up the forklift to your room so you can taken outside to get some fresh air?

Too easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462595)

Isn't this already a Smirnoff joke?

ISR, joke has already written YOU.

No recordings though? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462601)

As long as its not filming me and recording my vinegar strokes when it reports that i am watching "siberian amputee dwarf party 8"

Re:No recordings though? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462869)

That series jumped the shark after Siberian Amputee Dwarf Part 5. Making sequels after that was just pointless, it had resolved all scenarios!

Re:No recordings though? (1)

jalopezp (2622345) | about 9 months ago | (#45463521)

Even after they jumped the shark, it is difficult to let go of these characters that impacted your life so much.

Built-in set top box (5, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 9 months ago | (#45462615)

It's a wonder that so many people are using the built-in set top boxes in their so-called smart TVs.

The user interfaces are invariably shit (especially so for any software designed in the far East). And you're stuck with whatever badly designed, misconceived bollocks they force upon you. It's the Sony shit-on-your-paying-customers way of doing things.

Anyway, the whole world is (or should be) treating large displays like TVs as monitors, which screens media pushed from the internet via other devices in your house. DLNA and Chromecast are the way of the future, not built-in TV set top pox.

Re:Built-in set top box (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 9 months ago | (#45462707)

Actually, Chromecast is not the way of the future (I think you meant "wave"). That's yet another add on device to stick somewhere in the home theater setup, either the TV or the receiver. Those devices should have the innate ability to communicate (with sufficient security) with nearly any other device that may come knocking.

Re:Built-in set top box (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462753)

Have you actually used DLNA? I personally think it stinks. For a way to get a list of files it is pretty good. For any sort of meta data, thumbs, run time, etc it blows.

It is a good idea. Not so good on the works part.

For my LG I guess they get tons of 'hdmi 2 on', 'hdmi 2 off', 'hdmi 2 on', 'hdmi 2 off'...

Anyone have a good iptables rule to block this sort of thing?

Re:Built-in set top box (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45463063)

Have you actually used DLNA? I personally think it stinks. For a way to get a list of files it is pretty good. For any sort of meta data, thumbs, run time, etc it blows.

yeah, I'd been searching for a decent remote control keyboard for my XBMC (formerly MythTV) box for a while (tried a few 2.4GHz and Bluetooth devices), and never found any I liked (nor do I find the XBMC interface very usable). Then I found out about DLNA and MediaHouse on Android, and now I keep all of our media on the NAS in the basement and the XBMC box is set to receive DLNA and we just use whichever android device is around for a much better remote experience.

I agree, though, there's not much metadata on it (just ID3 AFAIK). We have pretty much no need for more on the remote, though, so that's fine.

The other thing is that the allowed port range (like UDP 30000-60000) is insane - reminds me of the bad-old NFSv3 days. There's an heir apparent protocol out there that few vendors have implemented to date. It's probably time, though.

In the meantime, the list of files (I have a folder structure) is all my kids (7 & 10) need to actually watch what they want. They have friends over and go through their karaoke videos or whatever and the friends think it's like magic - I was chagrined that I never noticed DLNA several years ago!

Re:Built-in set top box (2)

hellsop (230981) | about 9 months ago | (#45462761)

I'm sure that if you read the fine print on the agreements for most (if not all) set top box services like TiVo, Hulu, Netflix, your cable agreements, you'll find that they grant permission to collect viewing data and resell it. It's pure gold to ratings organizations or anyone else wanting to prove how many people are watching one thing or another.

Re:Built-in set top box (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 9 months ago | (#45462809)

The crux though is you are using their services, I expect things like that. What I do not expect is watching say something from my Samsung BR player that is shared from my computer getting uploaded back to Samsung.

Re:Built-in set top box (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 9 months ago | (#45462841)

Good thing I do not use any of the above to get my TV. My active cable TV subscription ends at a turned off HD homerun. Sickbeard is just so much faster and less annoying, paired with xbmc.

Re:Built-in set top box (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 9 months ago | (#45462889)

Agreements do not trump law.
Especially forced and unsigned agreements.

Re:Built-in set top box (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462931)

Sending the info over http is purely irresponsible.
Not honoring the setting that disables the features is dishonest.

Analytics can be valuable but trust also matters. A very massive backlash is quite possible (people refusing to buy new TVs or buying the low end ones that are not smart etc.).

Cable company selling viewing data (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463073)

Actually, in the US it's a bit tricky for a Cable TV company to sell/give/distribute your viewing data. They can use it internally, but there's a specific law that prohibits disclosure of that data. The Cable TV Privacy Act of 1984 prohibits cable TV providers from disclosing personally identifiable information, and allows users to view and verify their information. This is somewhat unique. No such rules apply to other communications means. For instance if Verizon wants to publish my browsing habits, as gleaned from watching the packets go by, there's not a lot I can do, from a non-contract law standpoint.

Re:Built-in set top box (3, Informative)

mi (197448) | about 9 months ago | (#45462997)

DLNA and Chromecast are the way of the future, not built-in TV set top pox.

Whatever your DLNA-client — whether it is the TV itself (LG have this capability), or some 3rd-party box — it can do the same sort of "calling home" reporting what you are watching.

Worse! Whereas the documented spying reports only the currently-watched file and is limited to the listing of the currently-inserted USB-stick, with DLNA your entire collection can be POSTed facilitating not only research into your watching habits, but also aiding investigations of copyright-violations, for example.

The only way to be sure is to disable Internet-access — or only allow it to the sites you trust (for whatever reason). (Like YouTube or Netflix — it is unlikely (though entirely possible) for them to do the same kind of snooping into your media-collection.) Unfortunately, doing that will also disable firmware updates...

Re:Built-in set top box (3, Interesting)

qbast (1265706) | about 9 months ago | (#45463303)

The only way to be sure is class-action lawsuit and huge fine paid by LG.

Re:Built-in set top box (5, Informative)

Jaseoldboss (650728) | about 9 months ago | (#45463365)

It doesn't transmit the currently watched filename, it dumps the folder contents asynchronously when accessing the Smart functions. And not all the time, it's possibly newly added files.
I am the blogger who found this, let me know if you would like verification.

Of course it didn't (4, Funny)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 9 months ago | (#45462619)

This file didn't really contain "midget porn" at all, I renamed it to make sure it had a unique filename that I could spot easily in the data and one that was unlikely to come from a broadcast source.

Sure, whatever you say.

Re:Of course it didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462995)

I'm not really 13 years old.

Sure, whatever you say.

midget porn (3, Funny)

hduff (570443) | about 9 months ago | (#45462633)

I can feel the outrage in his comments.

They'll be prying his midget porn from his cold, dead, slightlt sticky hands

Re:midget porn (2)

Zanadou (1043400) | about 9 months ago | (#45462971)

They'll be prying his midget porn from his small, cold, dead, slightly sticky hands

FTFY

I used to think totalitarianism came from above (5, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about 9 months ago | (#45462641)

Now I realize that it's democratic: it comes from the people.

Your average consumer doesn't care that their TV is phoning home, or Google is tracking them, or that their cell phones are reporting to Amazon.

We used to be afraid of three-letter government agencies but really, the bigger story is that the average person doesn't care if they're spied on. To them it represents greater convenience in lifestyle as products are tailor-made to their kinks and purchasing habits.

When fascism arrives, it will appear on a Harley with a cheeseburger and a credit card, not wrapped in a flag carrying a Bible.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (2)

alexhs (877055) | about 9 months ago | (#45462687)

When fascism arrives, it will appear on a Harley with a cheeseburger and a credit card, not wrapped in a flag carrying a Bible.

What about wrapped in a flag on a Harley, distributing Bibles, cheeseburgers and credit cards ? :)

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462865)

No, it comes from corporations, by way of any method that might maximize profits. There should be rules against what LG is doing here if this pans out. Rules put in place by the government. And there might in fact be, however that's a matter for the courts since it was probably documented in the owners manual or when you agreed to view content online.

That being said, this is disappointing to hear about LG. Thought they were the last reputable TV maker out there. If this does pan out, I hope there bottom line takes a massive hit, and Streissand is unkind in her effect.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 9 months ago | (#45462871)

You think totalitarianism doesn't come from above? Who do you think is higher on the political food chain, the consumer or corporations?

You expect consumers to care about privacy, but what does it cost him to care? You almost can't buy a decent TV these days that's not "smart". So he has to put a packet analyzer on the network port and figure out if the thing is phoning home?

No, this a place where the consumer reasonably feels he ought to be protected by government regulation.

Back in 1972 the US Department of Health Education and Welfare developed a landmark report which anticipated a lot of the electronic privacy issues of the following 40 years. The report was prepared under squeaky clean Elliot Richardson, who was shifted from HEW to DoD shortly before the report came out. He was replaced by Caspar Weinberger (later Reagans' Sec'y of Defense, and mixed up with Iran Contra). If you read the report it is capped with a conclusion which doesn't seem to match: we can't really be sure about what's going to happen in the future, so we should avoid regulating any potential privacy abuses by the private sector until they become problems. That's the philosophy which controls the US approach to consumer data privacy to this day. Consumers have to figure out that their data is being abused, then win a political fight against companies who've invested money in the business of exploiting their data.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463027)

You think totalitarianism doesn't come from above? Who do you think is higher on the political food chain, the consumer or corporations?

Take away the consumer, and you'll see where the corporations go.

Totalitarianism sure comes from above like rain does. That's why sane people tend to their roofs.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

internerdj (1319281) | about 9 months ago | (#45463379)

How do you take away the consumer? Most consumers are either not savvy enough to discover this, not savvy enough to understand the implications of this, or their livelyhoods have been so undermined by both corporations and the government that they can't spare the worry over this issue. The people that should inform the average consumer about these things and the implications of it are now fully profit motivated ratings shills. Not only that, but the profits are ad driven. There will not be a point where enough of the consumer base understands the problem to matter to the company.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463285)

The consumer. Most corporations would disappear overnight if the consumer stopped purchasing their wares.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45462943)

To them it represents greater convenience in lifestyle as products are tailor-made to their kinks and purchasing habits.

So far, LG hasn't done a flash-bang home invasion / shooting / kidnapping based on its surreptitious data stealing. If they did, some significant segment of its customer base would go to the competition.

The 'herds' actually have this security analysis fairly correct.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (3, Informative)

jodido (1052890) | about 9 months ago | (#45463085)

Every public opinion poll says just the opposite. Too many to cite, but here's one: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-07-23/politics/40862490_1_edward-snowden-nsa-programs-privacy [washingtonpost.com] It's easier to blame the victims than the people in power.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

operagost (62405) | about 9 months ago | (#45463105)

Now I realize that it's democratic: it comes from the people.

It comes from everywhere: those in power, and their useful idiots.
"You handle the top down, but it's also bottom up and inside out." - Van Jones

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 9 months ago | (#45463141)

While I heartily dislike all of the tracking and spying being done to me, I will admit that I would be far more complacent about commercial companies spying on me to generate demographic data and provide more relevant content, i.e. a higher precision Nielsen, than TLAs doing so for the purpose of putting me in prison.

However, with commercial entities specifically tracking an individual to target marketing to them, problems arise. Nothing like an 8 y.o. getting onto Mom's Amazon account to update their Xmas wishlist, and having "In His Cuffs" show up in the recommended for you section... Or similar circumstance on Netflix, etc.

Additionally, since everything the commercial agencies collect can and will be used against you in a court of law, as soon as you cross some petty bureaucrat's personal line... well, yeah, we have to take the stance that ALL spying and tracking is malicious.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463457)

I fear private company tracking far more than a LEO:

1: LEOs have limitations, "fruit of the poisoned tree", and search warrants. Private data handed over has no protections, and be used without any restrictions.

2: LEOs tend to keep their data private. Private companies will sell it to any interested party, be it a stalker or perhaps even a patent/copyright troll for mass litigations.

3: Private data has no expiration.

4: Mass arrests become easier. A website has "confirmed, will be there" data that people were at a rave? Everyone who clicked "confirm" is now arrestable, and convictions will be easy, especially if everyone is tried separately.

5: Employment and promotions are affected.

6: Health insurance premiums can be raised or insurance can be dropped.

7: It can be used to help take someone's house or business. Especially an innovative startup.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 9 months ago | (#45463315)

One of the most obnoxiously intrusive three-letter government agencies is the HOA. It's stunning what those petty little organizations think they have the right to dictate. You shall not have the right to paint your own house whatever color you please, let your lawn go unmowed, repair cars in your driveway, use a clothesline, or quite a few other things. Why? Because it might commit the grievous sin of Lowering the Neighbors' Property Values. Never know when a neighbor will notice something and make a mental note to complain about it while they wait for their dog to leave a deposit in your yard.

These days, purchasing consumer electronics feels like you got a lawn that will be very nice as soon as you've finished cleaning up after someone else's dog or figured out where not to step.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#45463403)

Since when is HOA government?

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 9 months ago | (#45463465)

HOA's are not a government agency, which means you don't have to deal with them. That problem is entirely your own doing.

Re:I used to think totalitarianism came from above (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 9 months ago | (#45463407)

Your average consumer doesn't care that their TV is phoning home, or Google is tracking them, or that their cell phones are reporting to Amazon.

We used to be afraid of three-letter government agencies but really, the bigger story is that the average person doesn't care if they're spied on. To them it represents greater convenience in lifestyle as products are tailor-made to their kinks and purchasing habits.

Do you honestly think the average person knows about the spying or even understands exactly what is happening or how it ultimately affects them? If they knew and understood it as we do I think they'd be as pissed about it as we are. Probably even more so considering how easily riled up the average person is by the talking heads on tv.

Like HTC spyware (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463413)

"Your average consumer doesn't care that their TV is phoning home, or Google is tracking them, or that their cell phones are reporting to Amazon."

HTC is still trying to recover from spyware.
Boston cops seem to care that they're being tracked.
I turn off Google Android GPS and so do most everyone I know. Latitude was never run and for my next phone, I want Android without all that Google spyware and forcing you to sign up for an account that groups stuff and all the other creepy surveillance stuff they do.

There won't be any LG products in my new house. Not just TV's, I find their attitude to my data appalling and don't want them selling even the guarantee card data on.

Great thing about being old (5, Funny)

sunsurfandsand (1959680) | about 9 months ago | (#45462661)

All I watch are reruns of Law & Order. Guess that's why I keep getting targeted ads for handguns, anti-freeze, bleach, and no-contract cell phones.

Re:Great thing about being old (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 9 months ago | (#45463113)

How does anti freeze fit in there?

Re:Great thing about being old (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 9 months ago | (#45463159)



Anti-freeze, I've been told, has a slightly sweet taste. You can add it to someone's drink without them knowing it. Until they have kidney failure.

Re:Great thing about being old (1)

The Moof (859402) | about 9 months ago | (#45463347)

Not anymore. According to my mechanic friends, they've started adding something to make the flavor bitter to avoid accidents (ie, pets drinking a small amount of leaked antifreeze and dying).

Re:Great thing about being old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463411)

He might be making wine?

Re:Great thing about being old (1)

operagost (62405) | about 9 months ago | (#45463161)

All I watch are reruns of Law & Order. Guess that's why I keep getting targeted ads for handguns, anti-freeze, bleach, and no-contract cell phones.

DONG DONG

From the Ad to Advertisers... (4, Funny)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about 9 months ago | (#45462671)

This is part of the pitch to advertisers from the LG video: "Furthermore, LG Smart Ad offers useful and various advertising performance reports. That live broadcasting ads cannot. To accurately identify actual advertising effectiveness."

LG staff apparently speak like robots. Or Michael Caine. Who can only say. A few words. At a time.

That's pretty creepy.

Re:From the Ad to Advertisers... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 9 months ago | (#45462839)

Here's a thought, I ditched my cable provider and went with Netflix and sharing media on my computer with my tv to not have to be bombarded with ads. FULL STOP

Re:From the Ad to Advertisers... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45463229)

Here's a thought, I ditched my cable provider and went with Netflix and sharing media on my computer with my tv to not have to be bombarded with ads.

And your ISP, Netflix, and a half a dozen entities in the middle still know exactly what you're doing.

You've avoided ads, but you've not gained any additional privacy.

Re:From the Ad to Advertisers... (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about 9 months ago | (#45463297)

Funny, that's why a lot of people started paying for cable and satellite TV decades ago. Ads will creep in to Netflix too. All it takes is a demand from shareholders for ever increasing profit.

Re:From the Ad to Advertisers... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 9 months ago | (#45463443)

Probably, but at least Netflix is currently ad-free. That's about all you can hope for these days.

Re:From the Ad to Advertisers... (3, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#45463005)

Or Christopher Walken: "Yeah. I'm collecting data. On you. So you turned the setting. Off. What of it? Make a fuss and I'll stab you in the eye with a pencil."

Re:From the Ad to Advertisers... (1)

operagost (62405) | about 9 months ago | (#45463187)

I just realized that Walken and Shatner have the speech pattern; merely with different inflection.

Easy Solution (1)

unixcorn (120825) | about 9 months ago | (#45462677)

Unplug the TV from the network and us another device for accessing content. Then sue LG for invading your privacy.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

Scutter (18425) | about 9 months ago | (#45462711)

Then sue LG for invading your privacy.

Yeah, who doesn't want a check for $1.74 or $25 off your next purchase of an LG smart television?

Re:Easy Solution (1)

msauve (701917) | about 9 months ago | (#45462905)

LG is in felony violation of the CFAA. [wikipedia.org] They're accessing a computer without authorization, and that computer is being used in interstate commerce (commercials are part of commerce), as would be, say, Netflix.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463397)

So, instead of a check for $1.74 or a $25 rebate on your next purchase from the offender, you would rather that the government collect some paltry fine and a carefully-worded fauxpology-that-admits-no-guilt issued by LG?

Welcome to America.

Re:Easy Solution (3, Interesting)

rhsanborn (773855) | about 9 months ago | (#45463415)

The response email from LG implies the original author agreed to the access when he accepted the terms of service. That would likely stand, for now, in the US. I'm not sure if it would fly in the UK.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462925)

GP didn't say "participate in a class-action lawsuit", he said "sue". Depends on your state, but small-claims court may be a good choice of venue.

Re:Easy Solution (1)

RandySC (9804) | about 9 months ago | (#45462973)

Exactly! Take an old 7-8 year old Pentium dual core 3.40 GHz or similar, get a video card with HDMI, and wireless mouse, and run XBMC or VLC and save money by buying a dumb TV.

The real answer is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462679)

don't buy a smart TV. Build or buy a set-top box that gives you customizability and control over what it does. Plenty of options for Windows, Android or Linux htpc's or set top boxes that you can customize as deeply as you like.

Re:The real answer is... (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 9 months ago | (#45462829)

don't buy a smart TV.

Since the price difference between a smart TV and a dumb one can be less than $100,00 (here in Brazil where you expend some $700 more to buy a PS4 instead of a PS3), you'd better buy one and root it.

Re:The real answer is... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#45463195)

you have to pay $100 more for a dumb TV these days? Well, OK, I guess that's a feature.

(we're happy as a clam with our Vizio dumb LCD panel. LED/120Hz, buncha HDMI, all the 'enhancements' and speakers can be turned off and open source stuff plugs into the HDMI ports just fine).

Re:The real answer is... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 9 months ago | (#45463505)

Probably the long term answer is a solid internal firewall, or putting the smart TV on its own subnet. Eventually all TVs will be "smart" ones, perhaps even not working unless they have an always-on connection, so I can see emulators being written to make the TV think its phoning home, except it is just communicating with a fancy /dev/null.

In Soviet Russia... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462701)

...LG watches you! Oh, wait...

There's unintended consequences in that LG... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462739)

I guess if they do that, then an un-hacked G2 would do it as well- along with the stuff Verizon did along those same lines. Guess I don't want the G2, then...

FTW (2)

AndyKron (937105) | about 9 months ago | (#45462757)

So much for ever buying a TV set again.

The real problem with the TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462771)

Is that it is full of lizards [youtube.com] .

"smart" TV (1)

mythix (2589549) | about 9 months ago | (#45462773)

for dumb people.

privacy at work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462781)

myself and all others there are watched by cameras for 8 hours, we don't care. why do cops need so much privacy at work? btw don't they get paid to watch others? lol, seems the shoe is on the other foot and they cry foul.

Reporting WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45462859)

Hmm. I have an LG TV. It must report "watching HMDI 1 again" (TiVo). Oops, now watching "HDMI 4" (chromecast). No way it is sending any information about the shows. It has no idea what show is on those inputs. Lame story. I will stipulate that if you use the "Smart" features it could send a file name of something you watch from DLNA, etc. However the "Smart" features on these TVs are f*cking stupid. The menu takes 30 seconds to come up - even to SWITCH INPUTS. They are a joke, so nobody that has tried them ever uses them again. You use the things you plug in - such as a DVR, a Chromecast, a Roku - things like that.

No thanks.... (2, Insightful)

theNetImp (190602) | about 9 months ago | (#45462875)

This is exactly why my TV though having an either port does NOT have internet access connected to it. I get monitored enough, there's enough risk from being hacked. Leave my TV alone!

Re:No thanks.... (1)

theNetImp (190602) | about 9 months ago | (#45462893)

ethernet not either ....

Re:No thanks.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463135)

He uses "neithernet". 8+)

What we need.... (2)

frostfreek (647009) | about 9 months ago | (#45462901)

For now, it's filenames. Next will be screenshots. After that, reverse-netflix?

What we need is for the protocol to be reverse-engineered, and then just start posting all sorts of randomized information to the servers, effectively making it useless. Advertisers won't pay for garbage data.

Of course, once LG notices, the protocol will be encrypted...

Re:What we need.... (1)

Pulzar (81031) | about 9 months ago | (#45462969)

What we need is for the protocol to be reverse-engineered

The "protocol" seems to be a simple POST with fields like "channel=32&antenna=no", etc.

That better not take too long to reverse-engineer.

No encryption? (5, Interesting)

gameboyhippo (827141) | about 9 months ago | (#45462909)

If I were to build a TV that spied on my customers, I would at least encrypt the traffic. By not encrypting the traffic, this opens up the possibility of a user getting revenge by posting misleading data or even something as evil as an XML bomb. Dumb move by LG.

Re:No encryption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463393)

They probably didn't think anyone smart enough to do that would have bought one of their TVs.

Hardware Firewall (3, Interesting)

musterion (305824) | about 9 months ago | (#45462989)

So, does his TV connect to the internet via a cable modem? Perhaps it's time for someone to market a hardware firewall that you can place between your cable modem and your router to monitor and filter all of your inbound and outbound traffic. I suppose that some routers let you do this. I have an Airport Extreme and it does not give you access to any logs (suggestions as hoe to do this would be welcome).

Re:Hardware Firewall (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 9 months ago | (#45463257)

What you're describing is generally the duty of the router in non-enterprise settings. You should invest $50 and get a good (non-Apple) router that can do what you want.

Re:Hardware Firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463371)

You can build your own router, there are many options to do so. Choice exist in software (openbsd, pfsense, dd-wrt, openwrt, debian) and hardware (Soekris, Alix, etc) Here is one example:
http://www.bsdnow.tv/tutorials/openbsd-router [bsdnow.tv]

From there it is dead simple to block sites and networks you don't want your TV accessing.

Re:Hardware Firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463419)

You can build your own router, there are many options to do so. Choice exist in software (openbsd, pfsense, dd-wrt, openwrt, debian) and hardware (Soekris, Alix, etc) Here is one example:
http://www.bsdnow.tv/tutorials/openbsd-router [bsdnow.tv]

From there it is dead simple to block sites and networks you don't want your TV accessing.

Who is surprised by this? (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45463149)

I think nobody should be surprised.

Once a company gets a network connection to what you do, they're going to track it, analyze it, and try to figure out how to monetize it. And, if requested, they're going to hand it over to law enforcement.

And this is precisely why I have no interest in having my TV connected to the internet.

The easiest way to avoid stuff like this is to stop giving companies a window into everything you do. Because the reality is, they're going to exploit it whenever they can for their own benefit.

This could be fun. (1)

grub (11606) | about 9 months ago | (#45463269)

Their data is sent in the clear. Time to fill their logs with the idea that I watch Golden Girls 24x7.

Quick fix (1)

WerewolfOfVulcan (320426) | about 9 months ago | (#45463341)

Disable the Internet connection on the TV. Problem solved.

Re:Quick fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45463431)

Quicker fix....return the TV. Wow, I can't believe people won't use the power given them by their wallet, it's not a feature any user would ask to be added to a TV so why 'buy it'...you can just skip this TV and buy a different one if you must have a TV to begin with.

Love this part: (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 9 months ago | (#45463429)

I love this lovely bit of weaseling:

The advice we have been given is that unfortunately as you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer. We understand you feel you should have been made aware of these T's and C's at the point of sale, and for obvious reasons LG are unable to pass comment on their actions.

So, once again, it's in the EULA and Terms and Conditions, so we can do any fucking thing we want.

Companies can cramp any opaque license in there they want, and you have no recourse.

Fuck LG.

And LG paralyzes your tv when it wants to. (4, Interesting)

Marrow (195242) | about 9 months ago | (#45463467)

LG decided that it needed to update its user agreement and sent an update that paralyzed my TV. It would no long switch between inputs or do anything useful until I clicked their stupid agreement. They even supplied an email address for question about the process onscreen, but nobody ever responded.
I was a good customer for them until that stunt.

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