LG Smart TV Caught Collecting Data On Files Stored On Connected USB Drives

from the if-you-give-a-TV-an-internet-connection... dept

The growing presence of “smart” devices, each one requiring a connection to the outside world, is a bit alarming (Samsung TV zero day exploit, anyone?). The territory still remains largely uncharted and device manufacturers are still pretty much free to decide just how much data these devices will cough up when phoning home.

A blogger (and developer and Linux enthusiast) going by the name of DoctorBeet noticed his newly-purchased LG Smart TV was displaying ads on the “home” screen. He dug around and found more info on an LG corporate page that described the process in cheery let’s-sell-some-ads tones.

LG Smart Ad analyses users favourite programs, online behaviour, search keywords and other information to offer relevant ads to target audiences. For example, LG Smart Ad can feature sharp suits to men, or alluring cosmetics and fragrances to women.

The endearingly sexist sales pitch attempting to sell other pitchmen on LG’s “smart” ad platform/TV makes it pretty clear that LG’s TV is very interested in any “interactions” you have with your device.

What the sales pitch failed to make clear is that LG will be grabbing this behavioral data no matter what.

In fact, there is an option in the system settings called “Collection of watching info:” which is set ON by default. This setting requires the user to scroll down to see it and, unlike most other settings, contains no “balloon help” to describe what it does…

At this point, I decided to do some traffic analysis to see what was being sent. It turns out that viewing information appears to be being sent regardless of whether this option is set to On or Off.

Not only was LG sucking up viewer data, it was sending the data on each interaction completely unencrypted. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem if the data collection was limited to the channel watched and for what length of time. But as the increasingly creepy sales pitch above points out, LG also wants “search keywords” and a potentially unlimited amount of “other information.”

At this point, LG already has a bit of privacy problem. Sending data on channel selection is one thing. Collecting and sending unencrypted web data like search terms is quite another. And it gets even worse.

It was at this point, I made an even more disturbing find within the packet data dumps. I noticed filenames were being posted to LG’s servers and that these filenames were ones stored on my external USB hard drive.

DoctorBeet tested his hunch by mocking up an .avi file that would be immediately distinguishable from any other “normal” traffic. Plugging in a USB stick with the bait (Midget_Porn_2013.avi) into his TV, DoctorBeet soon saw data on his faux porn headed to LG’s servers in unencrypted plain text. DoctorBeet (and his shocked wife) also watched his children’s names being harvested from the file name of a Christmas video located on another connected drive. [Click picture to open a full size version in another tab.]


The implications of this data collection are huge. As DoctorBeet points out, it’s simply an invasion of privacy at best. Who knows what ads LG might serve when faced with a hard drive full of porn? Who knows what it might do if it goes trolling through media files at the behest of publishers, studios and labels? It’s not tough to imagine a scenario where “connected” files become bricked because of a perceived lack of license. As we’ve seen before, companies are seeking to patent methods of utilizing connected devices (like the now-mandatory Xbox “camera”) to determine who’s enjoying what content for ad-serving purposes/licensing fee extraction.

If nothing else, a “smart” TV shouldn’t be gathering, much less sending, file data back home from customers’ non-LG devices. The fact that LG does this in unencrypted form is also troubling. The fact that LG does this even when you specifically tell it not to is the sort of thing that becomes the basis for a class action lawsuit.

LG’s pass-the-buck response to DoctorBeet’s complaints makes everything so much worse.

Thank you for your e-mail.

Further to our previous email to yourself, we have escalated the issues you reported to LG’s UK Head Office.

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.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us again.

Kind Regards

Tom

LG Electronics UK Helpdesk
Tel: 0844 847 5454
Fax: 01480 274 000
Email: cic.uk@lge.com

In other words:

“Sorry” if you misunderstood the Terms and Conditions you were compelled to accept if you wanted to use your new purchase. “Sorry” these same terms and conditions nullified your preferences on sending data without your permission. Oh, and by the way, not our fault — the helpful people with the name tags at your local electronics store should have been intimately familiar with the Terms and Conditions of our entire product line and ensured that potential customers knew they were purchasing a SPY TV rather than a SMART TV.

If you have any other questions about our intrusive data collections, please don’t hesitate to fuck off and die.

LG’s representation may not care (at the moment) whether DoctorBeet feels LG’s watching him more than he’s watching its TV, but as this story continues to spread across the internet, I would imagine its tune will change. And when that changes, hopefully it will alter the Terms and Conditions as well.

People don’t implicitly surrender their privacy when they attach a “smart” device to the internet. There are responsible ways to collect data and responsible ways to protect this data and, from what’s being shown here, LG is doing neither.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: lg

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “LG Smart TV Caught Collecting Data On Files Stored On Connected USB Drives”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
109 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

SO? Like Google, you "agree" whether want to or not!

SPYING IS THE UNIVERSAL “BUSINESS MODEL” OF CORPORATIONS IN THE FASCIST STATE.

So just try to ‘plain why it’s okay for Google to spy on ME and everyone all over teh internets without any consent or possibility of stopping it — and Google’s “opt-out” only applies to its direct “services”, besides that you don’t know whether it’s real or not either, besides that just flags you as someone to watch, and how can it know you’ve “opted-out” unless knows who you are? HMM?

ALL SPYING IS BAD. Don’t try to make examples of other corporations being bad unless include Google and Facebook and other mega-corporations.


Google is in advertising, not freedom. Advertising is commercial propaganda full of deceit.

03:46:27[d-117-0]

ryuugami says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I Like Google

It may take a bit of work, but yes you can. You can block it in your hosts file, for example. In Firefox, you can install RequestPolicy + Ghostery to block third-party connections (like those to Google) and cookies, respectively.

It would be nice if all of that crap was opt-in, but at least there are some ways to “opt-out” if you look around a bit. I’ll settle for that.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: SO? Like Google, you "agree" whether want to or not!

Why do you have to bury your few salient points in paranoid idiotic ranting against one specific entity?

You almost had some points in your rant on the police article today, but buried it in some half-sane crap about police states, video games and how Techdirt aren’t posting the article you think they should be posting. You almost had a point here, but decided to turn it into whining against Google (a company whose main services you’ve admitted to willingly using despite your supposed objections to their ancillary advertising services).

If you want to actually get anywhere here without looking like a complete twat, tone it down. LG are clearly in the wrong. Don’t defend them just because Tim didn’t whine about Google at the same time. Yes, by trying to redirect attention you are DEFENDING this corporation. How do you like that?

Lakawak accident55@hotmail.com (profile) says:

Re: Re: SO? Like Google, you "agree" whether want to or not!

He attacke Google! LEt’s GET HIM! I dion’t caer if what he said was accurate…since like Google, you AGREE to use the LG TV when you buy it! GET HIM ANYWAY! Howe DARE this article suggest that a company founded by two men whose penises I dream of sucking every night is not working for my best interest! I mean, sure…they have built themselves into a third of a TRILLION dollar company based SOLELY on selling as much of my information as they can possibly get out of me. And now they re trying to force people to give more and more by pushing the failure that is Google+ on people! But I don’t care! I am sure Sergey’s semen tastes delicious! So no one can say anything bad about them!

Anonymous Coward says:

Let's rewrite that headline

“LG devices spy on you so that they can sell your private data to marketers, spammers, phishers and pedophiles”

That’s not really a reach: once LG’s sold it once, they can’t control who will sell it again. I’m sure every potential child-raping kidnapper would just LOVE to know which TVs are tuned into kid shows in their neighborhood.

Anonymous Coward says:

Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product like LG and many others do should be illegal. ESPECIALLY when they update the TOS months or years later and make you agree to them to continue using the product.

Worse yet here, I’ll bet that after the Supreme Court’s ruling a few years ago, that LG’s TOS state that you aren’t allowed to engage in a class action lawsuit against LG and must go into arbitration at your own expense for all disputes, where LG picks the arbitrator (which of course has a heavy incentive to side with LG to get more business).

Someantimalwareguy says:

Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

Let the market decide. If the “thing” tries to make you accept any TOS to use it, take it back and give the sales people a very loud rendition of your opinion regarding the intrusion of the product into your privacy. Do this so loudly that everyone in the store hears you.

Add to this a very strong, bad review on the product’s web page and you can effect the market for the product and perhaps even force the manufacturor to pull back due to the bad publicity and shame…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

The market is broken. It’s not like there are an infinite number of TV manufacturers out there, there are maybe a dozen, and all of them have the same TOS agreements.

Oh, and most places will charge you a 10% restocking fee, just to make your little tirade cost something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

The problem with letting the markets decide is why should I have to do all this research before buying a relatively cheap product?

If we decided to go “let the market decide how we deal with polluters” and everyone decided to just pollute anyway to sell cheaper goods, we all lose, especially since businesses can blatantly lie and get away with it (see misleading Comcast commercials claiming cable is faster then Fios according to experts, experts who say Comcast is blatantly lying).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

Nobody has a blanket right to use any particular service, so there’s no problem with a service provider requiring you to agree to terms for using that service. If you don’t like the terms, don’t use the service. Where’s the problem?

However, on this point: ” when they update the TOS months or years later and make you agree to them to continue using the product.”

I agree wholeheartedly. Once agreed to, it should be illegal to change the terms of the agreement unilaterally, with or without notice. If the terms need to be changed, then another active agreement form the customer should be required, not simply a notification. If the customer doesn’t agree with the new terms, then the customer should be able to cancel the service and be refunded for anything they paid for but haven’t used yet.

If this renders a piece of hardware they purchased less usable, then they should be able to return the hardware for a full refund.

Arthur Moore (profile) says:

Re: Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

I agree completely. Unfortunately, the Sony PS3 case shows that the courts do not.

The PS3 MUST receive firmware updates to play new games. Every firmware update requires the end user to accept the new EULA. If they do not, then the console is useless. They can not even downgrade to the original firmware.

Worse, this new firmware can remove features. This was the big thing when Sony removed the ability to run Linux on the PS3. The courts found that there’s nothing wrong with any of this. You can’t even get your money back.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

That might be the case in the US though the EU, AU, NZ courts see things a LOT different and are bound by consumer laws that actually protect the consumer.

As for this situation LG most likely have committed numerous offenses under Privacy, Telecommunication Interception, and Consumer Statutes (some criminal some otherwise) in the EU and more definitely in my own country of Australia. In fact it’s in the process of now being verified here with LG devices and if correct LG Aust are in for a pile of hurt

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

there’s no problem with a service provider requiring you to agree to terms for using that service. If you don’t like the terms, don’t use the service. Where’s the problem?

It’s a TV. How should anyone know it’s implicitly accessing a web service? (And even if he knew the “collection” menu item meant “transmission [to LG’s service]”, the blogger specifically tried not to use that service.)

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

not if reading and accepting that TOS was only available After the fact of purchase. a TOS is not a binding contract after the fact.

And it’s Not a service if it is an always ON system that cannot be turned off other than by removing the actual connection to the Internet. You purchase a product for specific purpose based on what is advertised, if that product requires extra structures & consideration after the sale then it is not fit for designed purposes and can be construed as false and misleading. Not in the USA no, but nearly everywhere else that has equitable consumer laws this is the law of the land.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

if that product requires extra structures & consideration after the sale then it is not fit for designed purposes and can be construed as false and misleading

I agree, and if you can’t read the TOS until after the purchase, then return the TV. If they don’t accept the return, sue in small claims. There’s plenty of precedent for this sort of thing. It would be an easy win.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

Unfortunately, with the increasing prevalence of built-in wifi, unless you’ve password protected your network, or don’t have it available to connect to without a wire connection, you’d have to go out of your way to keep a device like that from connecting to your network, whether you wanted it to or not.

Doug says:

Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

I think consumers need their own TOP, “Terms of Purchase”. A contract that spells out what we expect, and what businesses need to do if they want to go beyond. Of course, no one consumer could get anyone to agree to such a thing.

A large-enough group of consumers could band together, though, and threaten a boycott of any business that won’t agree to the terms. If we can find at least one that will, things could change.

Of course, that “large-enough group of consumers” should actually be represented by our government, but as we know the government conceives of itself in an adversarial position with respect to citizens, not as our representatives.

Corporations have the power imbalance: “agree to our (onerous) terms of service” or you get nothing. Consumers should be able to balance that power: “agree to our (hopefully not onerous) terms of purchase” or you get no sales.

Delain says:

Re: Forcing you to accept TOS to use a product should be illegal

“A one sided contract or agreement or contract is known as ” a Contract of Adhesion”. Also assuming the concerns posted here are accurate, the agreement may also be actionable for “unfair and deceptive business practices and failure to make a full and accurate disclosure of the terms and conditions of the agreement. I don’t see how in the world any company can say that the “sales agent is liable”. I expect in the not too distant future, when enough people file complaints, the Federal Trade Commission will investigate and file class action lawsuit suits against the companies involved. But before that happens someone will have to file suit in a local court and have the judge certify the suit as warranting a class action. Although I see numerous posts in this forum, I have yet to find anyone who intends to be a “LEAD PLAINTIFF ” AND file suit in this regard. People love to rant and rave in forums, but should save their complaints be heard by a judge and/or a jury of their peers.

I'm_Having_None_Of_It says:

Re: LG SmartTV spying on you

Er, Jerrymiah, you’ve got it the wrong way around. I understand that conspiracy-theory-prone Americans are now asserting that Britain is trying to finish what they started 200 years ago.

Actually, no. Look up Digital Economy Act, Richard O’Dwyer, ACTA, and David Miranda on the search engine of your choice to find out who is really calling the shots. It’s not us.

Now look in the mirror to find the solution. Stop voting the chumps responsible for this state of affairs into office every. Bloody. Time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let me get this straight…the guy sets the data collection setting to OFF, yet the TV still transmits data…AND THAT’S A TOS ISSUE WITH THE RETAILER?

Are you fucking kidding me?

My response to LG would’ve been:

Dear LG,

If I set something to OFF, I expect it to be OFF. It is clearly not OFF, as it is STILL transmitting data. As a result, this is NOT a TOS thing. You have a bug, and you need to fix it – you’re welcome.

Sincerely,
Customer doing your QA testing, since you guys seem to suck at it.

Sunhawk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The CFAA doesn’t apply to corporations, don’t you know. It’s only for individuals.

Individuals like, say, the ones that are in charge of a corporation? ^^

BTW, my computer does not have a camera attached, a microphone, nor speakers. It’s to the point that yes, you do have to be paranoid as demonstrated by this article.

Indeed. my desktop lacks a microphone or camera (unless I plug one in), myself.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

This is likely to turn into a PR nightmare for LG similar to the Carrier IQ catastrophe that the wireless providers faced a little while back.

Here’s what’s going to happen:

There will be some consumer backlash because of this and LG will probably issue a firmware update that makes the opt out setting actually work. All other TV manufacturers will add similar data gathering to their smart TVs. They will all collect some level of data that you can’t opt out of, which the company will assure users is just for statistics. Little by little, the amount and type of data collection that you can’t opt out of will expand. People will accept this because no one change will be big enough to make them complain. A decade from now there won’t be an opt out setting and smart TVs (as well as other smart devices) will regularly collect and send data on everything you do back to the company.

They will be able to do this because people will have no other choice if they want to continue watching TV. It will also happen because people will get tired of fighting a never-ending battle against the corporations who are trying to erode their privacy and because enough people simply won’t care as long as they can watch the latest Honey Boo-Boo reality crap.

IE says:

Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately… that doesn’t seem to be happening. When this story broke out, I began monitoring the traffic coming in and out of my tv (I even changed my router for one I could install OpenWRT). I didn’t recognize any malicious/spyware traffic, so I assumed that maybe Canadian laws were a bit more strict.

Until yesterday. I turned on the TV and was presented with a new EULA. To continue using most of the “smart” features of the TV (including paid apps—fortunately I don’t buy “apps” for the tv), I have to agree to their spying.

So, consumer “backslash” did nothing. Those of us stuck with a TV after the store return window have little choice, and I don’t think most new buyers will remember this (or read the eulas).

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Stop the abuse!!

The only way to stop the LG NSA inspired personal data collection is…

What about not connecting to it your router? Do these TV’s require an always on data connection to function?

What about using restrictive (whitelist) settings on the router firewall to prevent the phoning home part, but allowing the content access?

Is this even possible? I only have “dumb” TV’s, so I’m curious.

DSchneider (profile) says:

Re: Re: Stop the abuse!!

I don’t have a smart tv either, but it may be that blocking the site may break some functionality. Even if it were possible, this isn’t something that you’re average person is going to be able to do. Since we’re reading a blog with “tech” in the title most of us here are technically savvy or at least technically aware of things, but do you think your average senior citizen is going to know how to configure their router and setup a white/black list?

Won’t someone think of the Grandparents!

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Stop the abuse!!

What about not connecting to it your router? Do these TV’s require an always on data connection to function?

I don’t know, but I wouldn’t think so. However I wouldn’t put it past them to have the TV just automatically connect to any open WiFi network it might stumble across in order to phone home. So it just might connect to your neighbor’s WiFi without your knowledge.

Also, I would think that if you do connect it to the net, but block connections to the LG site, that you would get near constant nag messages complaining that it can’t connect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Stop the abuse!!

The “hacking” that Swartz was being accused of doing wasn’t related to the use of open WiFi as such, it was related to accessing a database.

I think previous poster was referring to the charges connected to allegations that Swartz was abusing the MIT wireless network rules by spoofing his MAC address (or similar).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Stop the abuse!!

Yes, that was part of it. They were saying that because they attempted to block him from connecting to the open Wifi network and he reconnected anyway after changing getting a new computer and changing his MAC address, he was violating the CFAA and it constituted “hacking”. So according to them connecting an open Wifi network that you aren’t given permission to connect to would constitute “hacking.”

Anonymous Coward says:

I said this before about smart devices, connecting as many devices as possible to the internet for nothing more than novelty value has and will always be a bad idea. Even if someone doesn’t care for their privacy and would love to install LG spyware on every appliance in their house, the least they could care about is the presumption that they have signed legally binding agreements without any signature being passed on their part.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Emphatically this.

In the security world, one of the important concepts to increase security is reducing the attack surface. This means presenting the most minimal connection to the outside world possible while still accomplishing what you need to accomplish.

People need to take this to heart. As a matter of habit, you should have nothing connected to the internet unless you have a really good, solid reason to do so — and even then, it should only be connected during the time that you actually need to use the connection, not all the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

I no longer have a tv in house. I don’t want one. I’ve had it to the eyeballs with poor programming, commercials, and reruns. Nor will I have an appliance that connects to the internet, other than a computer.

It’s crap just like this which ensures it will stay that way. BTW, my computer does not have a camera attached, a microphone, nor speakers. It’s to the point that yes, you do have to be paranoid as demonstrated by this article.

Anonymous Coward says:

surrender or not shouldn’t be the issue! LG need ripping up for arse paper over this! what a fucking cheek! they are refusing you the option of buying and using a bloody TV, for Christ’s sake, unless you agree to be watched and reported on 24/7! this is another reason that people’s privacy should be of paramount importance, not something that can be done away with by whoever feels like it, just to get something extra out of you! there needs to be severe repercussions over this! it’s just as bad as being watched all the time by the Government with the added bit in that you can be targeted for various ads and distributions!!

Nick (profile) says:

Why is it the companies we GIVE REAL MONEYS TO in exchange for a product try to get more out of use that they can then sell for MORE MONEYS?

As an alternative to a smart TV, you can get a dumb TV, a set top box, and load up a FREE open source XBMC that does NOT phone home, does NOT sell your information, does NOT give you shit, and does NOT cost you anything. Oh, and it likely supports way more video formats and codecs than any smart tv out there.

Why anyone pays big companies anything any more to be spied on just astounds me.

TasMot (profile) says:

Security by Obscurity - FAIL

Well, it appears that LG just thought that nobody would ever notice that their TV was spying on them. How about some charges against LG for transmitting the contents of a hard drive that they should be accessing and transmitting. Isn’t it great that now we pay for a TV for the company to use to spy on us. At least it used to be that you got a free service in exchange for being watched (one example is Yahoo and another is Google). Now, LG wants you to pay them for the TV, then they get to sell all of your personal info. I think they should have to give me a free TV for that access.

SDF says:

Attempt to see said Terms and Conditions

I actually tried to get a copy of these terms and conditions from LG, and found the attempt enlightening.

Ana: Hello S. Fox. Welcome to LG Electronics U.S.A. Support only. How may I provide you with excellent service today?
ME: I am trying to find the terms and conditions for the smart tv series prior to purchase, but do not see the information on your website
Ana: HI
Ana: What terms and conditions are you referring to ?
ME: the terms and conditions related to the smart tv software
Ana: That is not available in the website. That only comes up in the TV when you are setting it up for the first time
ME: the ones that must be accepted to use the smart tv software, but arent accessible until after purchase of the television, at which point i would be out a restocking fee
Ana: I can email you the TV warranty statement if you want to
ME: So if I am unwilling to accept them because i find parts objectionable, is the tv eligible for a full refund?
Ana: Refunds or exchanges depends of the store policy
ME: so they must be agreed to in order to use the device, but are not available until after purchase, at which point i may or may not be out of money based off of the retailers policy on returning open-box items.
ME: is this correct?
Ana: Yes, you need to agree to continue the TV setup
ME: Is LG able to provide me these prior to purchase so that I can decide if they are acceptable?
Ana: No, those are not available
ME: So I have to accept them to use the product, but they will not be made available to me before I purchase the product. Do you not see a problem with this ?
Ana: That is right.
ME: In other words, by purchasing the TV I am entering into a contract that I am not allowed to read.
ME: Thus am unable to make an informed decision whether to proceed
Ana: You can check with the distributor what are their policies for return in the event you are not satisfy with the product
ME: I can state unequivocally that LG has been removed from lists of potential products. I find this lack of transparency to be unacceptable.
Ana: Thank you for your feedback. I have forwarded your comments to our corporate public relations office

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Attempt to see said Terms and Conditions

That really gets to the crux of the matter I’d say, the biggest problem with TOS’s for products is that they aren’t presented up front and clearly visible.

Oh sure the sellers and manufacturers go on and on about how ‘You have no cause to complain, it’s in the TOS, which you signed’, but they knowingly go out of their way to make actually reading said TOS as difficult as possible, burying any important information in legalese, and only actually showing the TOS at all once you’ve purchased the item in question and gotten it home.

It’s even worse of course with digital stuff, which is increasing in number, as you can’t return that, so you either agree to the TOS, and use the product, or refuse, and are completely out the money you paid for it.

PlayNicely says:

An often stated opinion about this is “let the markets handle it”. Even setting aside the fact that the data collection was set to “off” I very much disagree with that sentiment.

An ideal marketplace relies on good “default” rules of transaction, which means that for example purchasing a certain item does not require any additional terms of service or contractual obligations, certain rules automatically apply. Arrangements like that have served us well in marketplaces we encouter every day (like buying bananas or t-shirts or getting a haircut). Marketplaces where standard rules are uncommon or impossible (like fitness club memberships or telco services) tend to yield undesired results such as hidden fees, arbitrary suspensions of service and so on.

The current trend towards the latter model (many transactions that used to rely on standard rules increasingly and unnecessarily have their own terms of service now) is one we should not encourage or defend. Many markets are far from the academic ideal and lack the ability to punish such abusive practices.

Terms of service are very often to the detriment of the customer, lead to more unnecessary litigation and generally decrease a market’s performance by obscuring the facts and restricting the customer’s ability to punish bad behaviour. The law should discourage the use of terms of service unless it is absolutely necessary. An ordinary TV or a music album should rarely if ever be bundled with custom contractual obligations.

Instead we should encourage “default” rules for marketplaces that were traditionally dominated by terms of service. For example I see no good reason why it should be impossible to boil down internet access to a few simple standard cases. This would allow case law to accumulate quickly around these few core features instead of being spread out among a multitude of contractual tricks and phrasings.

ECA (profile) says:

pAYING FOR PRODUCT

1. I want the make and model of the unit, I will look it up.

SO you pay for a Product. $1000.
And it has some interesting features.
It can use CERTAIN features that access the internet and NET services..

I warn people about the IDEA’ of a SMART product.
Its a computer inside..do you have CONTROL over that computer?
HOW much protection do you have on your HOME computer? TONS? Good.
And you CANT protect the data in/on that SMART product?
AND it reads your EXTERNAL DATA FILES???

SHOOT IT..

ECA (profile) says:

Re: pAYING FOR PRODUCT

http://www.lg.com/us/support-product/lg-84LM9600#

The Software he is using is optional..Smartshare is run on your computer..
I would bypass this. Just use a remote keyboard and wonder the net tot he sites you wish..MOST dont need this interface program.

ALSO..I could NOT find a TOS listed on their site for any of their product.

Anonymous Coward says:

ads

Ignoring the privacy issues as the nastiness of that is a given.
Why would I want my TV to show me ads?
It’s bad enough that so much of each TV broadcast “hour” is ad breaks rather than “proper” content.
The idea of paying for a TV, that then shows me additional unwanted ads is just bizarre and shows the buyer is being treated as the product.
You being the product may be potentially OK in some circumstances, e.g. you can decide for yourself to use Facebook, Google etc based on your data mining viewpoint, if what you get in return is free, but not when you are already paying.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...