LG Will Take The 'Smart' Out Of Your Smart TV If You Don't Agree To Share Your Viewing And Search Data With Third Parties

from the privacy-policy-lobotomy dept

Techdirt reader Oldlad stuck this through the Submissions slot recently:

Because I will not agree to LG’s Privacy Policy, I can now no longer access/use any of of the TV’s network based programs: Iplayer, Skype, 3D etc.

As of the 7th May following a software update to our less than two year old LG TV. I was confronted with a message asking me to read and agree with a couple of important new documents. So like a good little citizen I read and agreed with the first doc regarding use of said TV. but having read the Privacy Doc I was not best pleased with the companies assumption that I would simply agree to their sharing all our intimate viewing details (plus what ever else they can see)with all and sundry.

Since I agreed not to hack into installed software (as if I Could)We cannot get around the block.

I think the company must be in breach of contract since the smart functions are no longer available. Surely in the uk at least you should not be able to change the goal posts at will. Any one sorted this problem yet??

Before some smart alec says “Take It back”. We bought the set because it satisfied our criteria at the time. We did not expect some legal bully to come along nearly two years later and tell us to share all our information with the world OR ELSE??

Oldlad poses good questions. Does a manufacturer have the right to “brick” certain integral services just because the end user doesn’t feel comfortable sharing a bunch of info with LG and other, unnamed third parties?

LG certainly feels it has the right to do this. In fact, it makes no secret of this in its long Privacy Policy — a document that spends more time discussing the lack thereof, rather than privacy itself. The opening paragraph makes this perfectly clear.

Our Privacy Policy explains and seeks your agreement for how we collect, use, and share information that we obtain as a result of your use of LG Smart TV Services, as well as how we use cookies. You do not have to agree to the Privacy Policy but if you do not, not all Smart TV Services will be available to you. [emphasis added] In that case, we will still receive certain non-identifying information from your Smart TV that we need to provide the basic functions that will be available.

So, even if you don’t agree to share information, you’ll still be sharing information. To top it off, you won’t be able to use many of the functions that put the “smart” into LG’s Smart TV.

Here’s a list of just some of the information LG grabs in order to ensure your Smart TV can be its smartest.

Viewing Information. This refers to information about your interactions with program content, including live TV content, movies, and video on demand. Viewing Information may include the name of the channel or program watched, requests to view content, the terms you use to search for content, details of actions taken while viewing (e.g., play, stop, pause, etc.), the duration that content was watched, input method (RF, Component, HDMI) and search queries.

Additional information will be collected if you use the “smart” features, most of which require the creation of an LG SmartWorld account.

For example, some of our services require that you become a member of LG SmartWorld, which may be subject to separate terms. You may join LG SmartWorld either through your LG Smart TV or by other means, such as through certain LG websites. This Membership Information may include your user ID, password, telephone number, name, date of birth, gender, email address, address, social networking service ID, security question answers, purchase history, and related payment information, such as credit card information or details of your PayPal account and more.

There’s nothing particularly unusual about the LG SmartWorld data being collected, considering its tied to paid services and apps. The greater concern would be the wealth of viewing information (including “internet searches”) that’s collected as part of a person’s non-“smart” usage.

This concern grows when you see the list of potential recipients of this information.

•When you use LivePlus, we may share certain Viewing Information, Device Information, and Basic Usage Information with third parties for advertising or analytics purposes and to enable the provision of information relevant to what you are viewing;

•To third party vendors that LGE may engage to provide services on its behalf from time to time, such as to collect payment for content you purchase or to fulfill customer service requests or to provide advertising services

LG seems very concerned that Smart TV owners won’t allow it to provide them with “relevant ads.” This focus on advertising might give one the impression that a Smart TV is subsidized by ad sales, rather than paid for completely by the end user.

When LG was caught sending plaintext data on files stored on customers’ USB devices, it amended its policies and data collection tactics to exclude this data. This happened not on the strength of a customer complaint (in fact, LG told the customer to take it up with the store that sold him the TV) but because the UK government announced its intention to dig into LG’s practices and see if they conformed with the Data Protection Act.

While it may have removed that particularly egregious bit of data slurping, it still intends to gather as much data as possible in order to deliver advertising, something almost every purchaser would be willing to see less of. Oldlad asks whether the company can, under UK law, simply “move the goalposts” at will, thereby providing customers with a product with fewer features than the one they purchased.

UK law does offer some additional protections in this regard. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulation of 1999 notes the following in its long list of specified “unfair terms.”

enabling the seller or supplier to alter unilaterally without a valid reason any characteristics of the product or service to be provided

LG presenting customers with the false choice of a) giving up control of their data or b) losing access to a great deal of the Smart TV features could be construed as “altering the characteristics of the product.” A lot would depend on the investigating agency’s definition of “valid reason.” LG’s Privacy Policy claims that most of what it collects is essential to provide these “smart” services. Indeed, many of them are. But there’s also plenty in that wording that indicates LG is collecting additional information solely for the purpose of providing ads. Whether or not that’s a legally “valid reason” is still up for discussion.

In its defense, LG may point to the fact that this Privacy Notice is published online and could be accessed by anyone looking to purchase a Smart TV. While factually correct, the reality of the situation is that the same number of people who would proactively search out privacy policies and T&Cs before purchasing a product are roughly the same number that would balk at clicking the “Accept” button on a dialog box post-firmware update — statistically insignificant. That number would leap appreciably if LG’s intentions were laid bare in the Privacy Policy dialog box, stating something to the effect that agreeing to the policy meant allowing LG to collect and disseminate search terms, search queries and content viewed to third parties.

Being upfront doesn’t result in nearly as much profitable data, however. And those who opt out, like Oldlad, are left with plain, vanilla TV rather than the smarter version they shelled out extra for.

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Comments on “LG Will Take The 'Smart' Out Of Your Smart TV If You Don't Agree To Share Your Viewing And Search Data With Third Parties”

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Violynne (profile) says:

When Samsung recently updated their Smart TV ToS, I decided to cancel, and they also shut off access. Every time I enter the menu, it requires me to accept it. Worse, they pop up this annoying message “reminding” me there’s a new ToS (as well as outages in NY, as though those apply to me).

Want to know who else pulled this crap? Microsoft. When the last 360 update was applied, we had to agree to the ToS (stating we can’t sue) in order to gain access to our apps and purchased games. It was insulting, but at least now they’re making a change to this by giving app and game access outside of Live.

It’s all bullshit, but really: what choice do we have? When every company is doing it, we have no choice.

Oh, and just a little jab at the “content = ads”: see, consumers won’t tolerate ads even if they are enjoyable when it comes to environments they don’t expect ads.

It’s going to get so, so much worse.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

My dad had the same problem right after he bought his $1500 TV. He’s far more lenient then I would have been. He watched the traffic going in and out of the TV and disabled all communication outside his network. I personally would have returned it.

The only way I can see around this after so long is to get a PC or a Raspberry Pi (or the like). It’s a shame (sham) that people have to spend more money to use what they already payed for in the way it was originally intended.

Ads are content, but content is more then just the content, it’s about location and timing as well.

Name WIthheld says:

Re: Re: Re:

Another alternative is to block the outgoing traffic at your router. Open up your router advance settings and view traffic. Start/launch your SMART TV Apps and look for LG related sites it is sending traffic. I would suggest you add all those to be blocked across all devices and you have thwarted their ability to track your viewing habits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Blame the idiots on the Supreme Court for saying that this crap is legal.

They didn’t said you can force customers to agree to arbitration only to get any lawsuits thrown out, and agree not to be a part of any class action lawsuits against them.

While some class action lawsuits end up being out only letting the lawyers get rich, the fact is class action lawsuits make sense when the loss among a large group of individuals is small, say $20 or $30 dollars each. Who’s going to waste time and time hiring a lawyer and filing legal briefs over $30?

And than arbitration is often heavily rigged against you as well, because the business chooses the arbitrator. And the arbitrator knows if they rule against the business too much the business will hire a different arbitrator.

Those legal precedents and laws need overturned to make that crap like ‘must agree to these new TOS or make your product become a useless brick’ become illegal.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“It’s a complaint from a UK resident with a product from a Korean manufacturer.”

That’s the silver lining – the UK tends to have much stronger consumer protections than the US. But, the laws surrounding licencing and copyright are still usually swayed by actions in the US, so we’ll have to see what actually happens here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yes, and also, if Samsung’s website is down, then your “smart” TV just considers the whole frigging internet to be “down”. I spent an hour trying to fix a TV that said it could not “connect to the internet” when it really meant that it could not connect to the Samsung smarthub server: no Netflix, no nothing until it came back up.

alternatives() says:

Re: Re:

When every company is doing it, we have no choice.

Actually you do.

No one says you have to have a TV.

The government LIKES social conditioning – far cheaper than force. Same with corporations – if they don’t have channels open to you to advertise how will they apply social conditioning to you?

Confronting LG and their ilk head on won’t work. Convincing every corporation that USES an LG to deliver their social conditioning messages has a better chance for obtaining change.

Brandon Rinebold (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A good monitor is much better at displaying text than a large TV. The pixels per inch on TVs, especially 50″ ones, is way too low for comfortable viewing and the contrast isn’t great either so the text all looks kind of blurry or jagged making it harder to read and increasing eyestrain.

TLDR: Your eyes aren’t any better off with the TV. It’s probably actually causing more eyestrain for general computer use.

Babs says:

Re: Re:

Updated terms stating we can’t sue? Watch me. I challenge things that would never hold up in court. Statements like that don’t give a company the green light to commit wrongs against you and do whatever they want. It’s just more corporate scare tactics, trickery and treachery. Holds no weight. If they really did commit an egregious wrong and cause a lot of damage how are they going to convince a judge that you agreed to not sue them? WTF?!

wendell m.k. ignacio (user link) says:

Re: accountability vs. not me i dont know somebody else

Ive run into the same rules of engagement during my newbi
On the internet user enhaced expieriance, dont be jerked by
Catagory to use for advertising,Ive dug up some vrry dirt on the tech. Used in police patrol in our streets if beleiving
That every cop protects our comunity? Watch the news, if you believe that “THE LOCAL STATE CRIME DATA BANK” keeps tabs on persons of interest, then its analytics & fancy
Tech words¿¿¿ nevertheless on all advertising adds Fianancial
Then understanding money, disclaimer read it. Not me ? I dont know somebody else”WHEN LOAN DENIED” point there
Are to many plugins redirects and traffic of faulse certificates, stating secure, when bait & switch tactics from admin. Persue extortional practices,=ethics & conduct. Just like judicial court/ guilty until proven innocent, its the mentality that the elite carries politically cash rewards of ?
Check IRS. local tax complaints or issues against ?? These govt. Orginizations is just 1 tool of investigation to assist. In your research against all. Shortly 1). BBB. THESE COMPANYS cant really afford to be shut down by negative reviews, upon thier policys and abuse on all consumers. Yet the best one feedback how did you find thier website usage
Asking to rate them all comes to algorithmic? Security squirley lettering I was allowed into that ¿¿¿ mission statement platform reading security, beit now prog. Designed by private law enforcement web content ??!! Data
Yeup wat an angel, turning your head in the sand¿¿ makes
Them stronger from employee performance measurement evaluations, good luck I hope you dont learn the hate discrimination I know but resources based upon them (LG) same tactics practiced can be same tatctics used by the diplomatic imunity rights consumer check it out?

DannyB (profile) says:

It reminde me of EULAs a decade ago

By opening this package you agree to the terms of the EULA that is included in the package.

I wouldn’t have a problem with what LG is doing if they had to disclose this fact very prominently on the box where it is visible before the product is purchased. Well, even then, I would have a problem with it.

By reading this message, you agree to the EULA posted online somewhere.

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

Re: It reminde me of EULAs a decade ago

Except this LG TOS/EULA was disguised as a software ‘update’. It happened after you purchased the TV and plugged it into the interwebs. I know, because I got the same update and thought, WTF?

This is what happens when your company relies on lawyers and bean counters instead of satisfying customer needs and wants.

Charles (profile) says:

Re: Re: You don't own what you buy

I agree and that is what I have done. I read an article a while back that the way to go is a TV plus set top box. I have 3 TV’s with Roku and WDTV.

Another advantage, from the aforementioned article, is that a set top box is faster than a smart TV. I have no experience with a smart TV, but if a connected BluRay player is any indication, you can keep your smart TV’s. My BluRay player, which I never use, is horribly slow.


John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: You don't own what you buy

If you really want a “smart” TV, this is the only decent option. Buying one with the computer built into it is a bad solution. Not only does it make you dependent on whatever whims the TV manufacturer has (as this story demonstrates), but you’re stuck with hardware and software that is built into the box. Using a dongle means that you aren’t locked in. Why would anyone do it any other way?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You don't own what you buy

Get a dumb TV and hook it up to a Raspberry Pi configured as a media server (which will cost about 50 bucks with a case and SD card). Hook it into your network and the TV’s HDMI port and you can stream whatever you want without dealing with SmartTV bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You don't own what you buy

There’s a problem with this, in that the quality of the image on the TV is usually proportional to the cost of the TV (within a single manufacturer’s range, anyway), and you just can’t get the more expensive TVs without the smart options. I mean, you can still use it as a dumb TV, but not without wasting money paying for the unused “smarts”… plus the misleading economic indicator that there’s demand for the smarts as opposed to the image quality.

On the other hand, it does make projectors more attractive.

Anonymous Howard (profile) says:

Re: Re: You don't own what you buy

You’re correct about steam’s current policy. You still have to accept the new TOS if you want to log in to your account etc. You can’t sell your used games the way you can sell a CD (although you should be able to in the EU)

My point still stands: more and more manufacturers try to pull this “you only license” crap.

My solution to the TV problem: computer, internet, 23″ monitor. (maybe someday I’ll buy a TV, but will use it only as a dumb screen, and definitely won’t allow it near the harsh wilderness of the internet).
Programming and net security is one weak aspect of TV, car and (seemingly) smartphone manufacturers, so let’s trust this job to a more sophisticated system.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

If you purchase a TV that has certain features and the manufacturer decides to create limitations for your TV, such as telling you when you can watch it during a 24 hour time period, the manufacturer would be at fault because they are disabling the services of the TV that you legally purchased.

I don’t know if this falls in line with ‘purchasing contract’ disputes but this isn’t like some software package that you have purchased. This is a home appliance. Manufacturers like LG and Samsung cannot arbitrarily disable features of your HDTV or SmartTV just because you don’t agree with a policy they drafted after you have purchased it.

I suspect that manufacturers like LG and Samsung are going to be slapped, just like Apple was, over their product line as well. Manufacturers are simply pushing the envelop, trying to see what countries will allow them to get away with crap like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The manufacturer should be at fault but, as with the case with Sony’s Playstation that used to run Linux and was even advertised to run Linux and that feature was later removed, the U.S. legal system basically stood by Sony in saying that they can do this and that false advertising is perfectly OK. The shills over here would try to argue ‘but it wasn’t a very highly sought out feature’ so I guess the degree that a company deems a feature to be used has something to do with whether or not it’s OK for them to arbitrarily remove advertised features later on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So the bottom line is … before buying a product anticipate the likelihood that advertised features may later be removed. Don’t expect the legal system to make you whole because it likely won’t and it’s too expensive and cumbersome to fight regardless. Try to purchase a product from a company that has a good reputation of not doing this sort of thing (ie: Avoid Sony or else don’t be disappointed if you do buy Sony and later advertised features are removed).

David says:

Re: Re: Re: The bottom line is more simple:

Don’t buy appliances or operating systems or applications that dial home.

Yes, this will obviate a significant amount of options available to you.

The medieval equivalent was “don’t sell your soul to the devil”. It is pretty much the same: giving up the ultimate control over your life.

You’ll get very tempting offers.

PaulT (profile) says:

“In its defense, LG may point to the fact that this Privacy Notice is published online and could be accessed by anyone looking to purchase a Smart TV.”

I’d agree, except for the possibility of “we have changed the deal – pray we do not change it any further” appearing on screen the day after you’re able to demand a refund. Caveat emptor means exactly nothing if one party to the “contract” can change it at any time.

David says:

Why buy 'Smart' TVs?

Personally, I really don’t want a ‘Smart’ TV, which is really where most of this fuss is coming from. Get a nice non-Smart LG (or other) TV, and add a Roku/AppleTV. It’s cheaper. If you don’t like what Roku/AppleTV shares, it’s a lot cheaper to replace – and you have a better idea what’s going on to begin with.

Anonymous Coward says:

There needs to be a law...

Removal of any functionality from a product that was available at the time of purchase by the manufacturer for any reason should automatically exempt the user from any anti-circumvention provisions within the law for the simple fact that functionality is no longer available to the user, it is no longer the same product as it was when they originally purchased it and therefore the original agreement not to circumvent protections on said product should be null and void.

Trevor says:


From what I understand from this article (Yay reading comprehension!) is that the buyer bought the TV some time ago, and a recent software update came with the new privacy policy, which bricked his TV.

I don’t think seeing the privacy policy a year ago would help in this situation, because the goal posts were changed a year later, not a few hours after buying it.

It’s like buying a computer with Windows 7 on it. Then Microsoft pushes a Service Pack update that includes a privacy policy provision that says “We can sell your information to whoever we want. if you do not agree, some features will not be available.” and then all of a sudden you can’t use the internet or any programs except Paint and 3D pinball.

Deranged Poster (profile) says:

I think I’ll stick with buying a “Smart box” that I can hack replace vs a “Smart TV”

Like any combo unit, if one part breaks, it breaks the whole thing.
Bundling Services I can handle,
Bundling Hardware… I don’t care for.

If my current “Smart Box” goes on the fritz or changes their TOS to something I cant handle, I can replace it with another box for under $100 without loosing My TV. With the Bundled “Smart TV” I don’t get that option.

DocGerbil100 (profile) says:

The only real solution

As others have said, I think the best way forward is not to buy from companies that pull stunts like this. Other companies certainly do the same thing, but with this coming so soon after the previous issue, LG, in particular, appears to be deliberately pissing on its customers’ moral and legal rights.

This is the UK, not Korea or the US.
This kind of behaviour just isn’t good enough.
I strongly doubt if it’s even legal.

I’ve a surprisingly cheap LG 3D monitor that – up until now – I’ve been quite happy with and happy to promote to others. I won’t be recommending their products any more and I’m going to replace the monitor with something not from LG.

Trust is the basis of every relationship.
I don’t trust LG any more.
I don’t want them in my house.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

LG repairs

I bought an LG tv, pre-smart. I then read a piece about a customer whom had bought an LG washer. 7 years later, something broke, and the customer contacted LG for the part. LG said that they no longer made those parts, the washer is 7 years old.

Who else here is old enough to remember the ‘Maytag Repairman, the loneliest guy in town’ ads? My folks had washer and dryer that were at least 25 years old (don’t remember the brand) and there were plenty of parts available, if they were needed.

So LG, along with change the terms of your purchase, are purposely making things that will obsolete out much faster that like equipment from just a few decades ago.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: LG repairs

LG said that they no longer made those parts, the washer is 7 years old.

It’s the same thing with lawn and garden power equipment, with a number of reasons.

– Items like push mowers are sold at such low prices that they’re disposable. The repair cost is higher than the replacement cost. And so parts aren’t stocked.

– It used to be that sales of the more common replacement parts would subsidize keeping the less common parts in stock. But that’s no longer practical, now that there are other companies selling knock-offs of JUST the common replacement parts.

– Banks now insist that parts distributors not carry parts with a slow turn-over. (Essentially a parts distributor is treated like a retailer.) That warehouse full of parts for older models is now a liability when it comes to financing.

Malco says:

Re: LG Products

See my comment posted at the bottom as “Anonymous Coward” on my experience with LG’s “Helpdesk” regarding my now crippled TV. Speaking only about this company (which I once revered when they were still “Goldstar”), they are totally irresponsible making products that deliberately go out of date and which are almost unrepairable and environmental luddites. Money trumps the one and only environment we have to live in. My good fortune is that the TV I bought still works as a basic TV, doesn’t have a camera or microphone and I can repair the power supply should the capacitors give up the ghost (as they eventually will).

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Does anyone remember...

Does anyone remember the thing with PS3 and OtherOS which allowed Linux users to install Yellow Dog. Then they killed that feature for the lulz and then George Hotz figured out a workaround, so Sony sued?

Yeah, when we let that go without lynching a few Sony execs and burning some houses down, it comes back to bite us.

And it will again. And again. Until we learn that we can’t rely on our respective governments to protect us from corporate neglect of consumer rights. Until we make it clear that we’re not going to tolerate this sort of thing.

Don’t bother trying to vote with your wallets: most wallets don’t know or care that this goes on.

As of this posting I have not received a US National Security Letter or any classified gag order from an agent of the United States
This post does not contain an encrypted secret message
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 8:58:56 AM
prince evil stairs Texas zip ambulance spy snow

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Does anyone remember...

Actually I think the reason Sony removed it was the fact that people figured out how to install software that allowed them to break into parts of the system that were supposed to be protected and poke around. It wasn’t just because they felt like it. Still I think it was a crappy thing for them to do.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

How to get politicians on-side

It’s now common for even off-line information to be available to historians. Diaries, correspondence, census and tax information, even medical information is available for mining by historians after a few decades. Residential school abuse victims here in Canada are shocked this month to find out that their private testimony will be opened up to historians.

We can only assume that the information collected by these TVs – viewing habits and search terms – will eventually be available in bulk to historians. No-one is throwing data away.

Let it be known to all legislators: When our paid-for devices are held hostage to our personal information, we will instead be entering the names, addresses and other information of our local Member of Parliament, Congressman or Senator. THEIR identities will forever be tied to our dirty laundry.

If they don’t like it, they can enact privacy laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Tip o' the Hat

Thanks for the tip.

I wouldn’t have bought a “smart” TV from LG (or anyone else), since I use a recycled Lenovo desktop box to manage my viewing via a “dumb” screen. I got the computer (2.5GHz dual core Intel with 2GB RAM and an 80 GB hard drive) for $85 US (including shipping) from a Canadian shop on Ebay.

However, my current screen is an ancient analog CRT-style TV that needs replacing. I now know that, regardless how good any deal looks on any LG product, I will NOT buy LG.

Thanks again for helping me not step in that particular pile. I shall share your tale widely.

Anonymous Coward says:

What pisses me off
How many folks just agreed to “sign their life away” and not even realise it…….its not just a problem for that individual, its shaping all our futures and how far they will go, becoming so prevailent that maybe all products and services will have a “clause”, this wont even get noticed until its been integrated to the point of “what can we do, their……..”

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Even worse than this is that it’s nearly impossible to function in society today without agreeing to “sign your life away” on a regular basis. Things you can’t do without agreeing to give up some fundamental rights, privacy, and security include: engaging in commerce of most sorts, driving a car, using public transportation, or even walking on public streets, having a job, voting, listening to music or watching a movie, etc., etc., etc.

In effect, we have allowed our rights to be whittled away (mostly by private industry), bit by bit, to the point where they are often conceptual only.

In this environment, it’s hard for me to fault people too much for not reading EULAs. We all know what they say: you have no real rights, but since we are forced to accept the terms in every other aspect of our lives, being persnickety about software licenses just seems silly.

gorehound (profile) says:

No way will I ever buy a television which forces you to connect it to the Net just to turn the damn thing on.I refuse to allow a TV to be online.I want my privacy not a big brother TV in my living room.
I am as secure as I could be here……..there are no webcams, microphones, etc.
This is a World where anything you put online is owned by the NSA and others.I am not a crazy person just a person like you.I want privacy just like you want.
Put it on some cloud…..they can see it if they want to.What’s to stop them from seeing thru your webcam or your glasshole device or your TV.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: Re:

Whoa, Michael. Remember that scandal where kids who had laptops from school were being spied on at home? Stuxnet’s ability to take over cameras and use them without even turning on the light so you’d know whether it was on or not?

While I’ve often disagreed with gorehound on other matters, I think he’s called it right today.

phils says:

Fight back:

Packet sniff the LG TV net connection, find the IP address that it “phones home” to. Then create your own “EULA” that is “agreed to” by LG if they capture personal information from your TV. Specify how much LG must compensate you for each bit of personal information they suck up. Load that EULA onto a Raspberry Pi and have it send it continuously to LG’s address.

Anonymous Coward says:

A slightly similar story with a NowTV box, to actually boot the device you needed to create an online profile which was pretty meaningless and then log on with this profile when the box starts up. A recent software update however means means you are forced to register a credit card against that online profile or you effectively brick your device and can’t log on.

I took mine back to the store as I am not registering a credit card to watch iPlayer or Youtube which is what I bought it for.

Saga Noren says:

Many posters here seem to be assuming the choice is either avoiding “smart TV” or agreeing to all these terms. Why not just use it without the internet features? Just don’t connect it to your network! The so-called “smart”-ware is probably buggy, soon-obsolete spyware anyway.

Almost all the new models have the internet features, but as far as I know they all will still work as regular TVs if you simply opt out of the network features. There’s no need to boycott LG in particular either – probably all the manufacturers are similar. Just select according to quality and features that you do plan to use.

Frank says:

LG is simply trying to legalize illegal stuff

Chances are that LG has been collecting data on the sly – i.e. spying on users – right from the beginning.
Now that someone has raised the issue on the legal side, they
are trying to “comply” by making users aware of their data theft.
However, since their setup doesn’t allow them to change the operation without great cost, they are simply cutting people off if they don’t accept the extortion.
The remedy is simple – LG must refund the user because the product never worked as expected, even if it’s two years down the line.

CFWhitman says:

This is why...

This is why my “smart” TV is a regular TV with a Raspberry Pi hooked up (and a Chromecast available when I want to use one). This is why I like things like the OpenPandora and its upcoming replacement, the Dragonbox Pyra. This is why (well, part of the reason) I run Linux on my computers, and only have one Windows partition for occasional necessities.

There are ways to do things without agreeing to terms like this, and only agreeing to such terms on a limited basis when you decide to do it. If you feel you are not tech savvy enough, you can usually find someone who is willing to help you out. If you feel like it’s too much hassle, then I suppose you can agree to everything.

muthii (user link) says:

Take action and do something about it

I had bought a samsung smartTV took it back for a bigger screen dumb tv. Connected a HDMI cable to my PC where I have plex and XBMC. Recently added a chromecast in place of HDMI cable. Now I can watch any content i want online or local on my TV’s or all the phones in the house.
As long as you click that accept button it does not matter how you complain about it, this companies will not stop taking away your rights.

Jay says:

this happened to me, its now been 4 days. When i first reported this it was like no-one at LG believed me. They’ve wasted my time majorly, i even had a tech abuse me for updating my TV and bringing this on myself.

LG sent a repairer out to my house who looked at my TV and agreed it is bricked, left 3 minutes later.

worse yet is that this 2014 TV is a replacement for a defective previous years TV which couldn’t be repaired.

This whole experience has turned me off LG completely, though i was really liking the new webOS prior to this incident.

John says:

new update coming

tainly need legislation. each country sets policies, so it is each country’s fault if such unscrupulous practices are allowed. i spoke with lg. instead of just venting here call them. numbers of complaints matter. they said they have gotten a lot of calls and they are working on a new eula that will supposedly give users more choice. so, ill operate the tv v in dumb mode untill the update. ironically, one of the things you cant activate without agreeing to the privacy invasion is the auto update feature. so you cant even set it and wait.

yes, the tv is smart alright; now the question is whom does it serve?

John says:

new update coming

certainly need legislation. each country sets policies, so it is each country’s fault if such unscrupulous practices are allowed. i spoke with lg. instead of just venting here call them. numbers of complaints matter. they said they have gotten a lot of calls and they are working on a new eula that will supposedly give users more choice. so, ill operate the tv v in dumb mode untill the update. ironically, one of the things you cant activate without agreeing to the privacy invasion is the auto update feature. so you cant even set it and wait.

yes, the tv is smart alright; now the question is whom does it serve?

jayess99 (profile) says:

LG and their Smart TV policy

I know that American Express will double the term of a product warranty when purchased with that card. I wonder if this would pertain to a situation such as this? I’d contact AmEx and tell them what has happened, that you effectively have a product that no longer works. I’d sure take a shot at it. I know that LG is a Korean firm, what I didn’t know is that apparently means North Korea.

Anonymous Coward says:

LG is making quite a case for the buying of a dumb TV, then just building a HTPC to connect to it, to make it not only a smart TV, but a smart TV with a DVR. Toss in a good TV tuner card and you don’t even need the cable box anymore. On top of that, you will be able to watch 1 show while recording 3 others.

I personally have always felt that SmartTVs were for dumb people.

Oldlad (profile) says:

LG Smart TV

Wow that opened a whole kettle of fish.
Thanks for all the comments,sounds like LG has really stitched us up. Some of you have given me food for thought but not sure that I am competent enough to follow the suggestions through. Remember I have already ticked the don’t mess with the works doc. Just disconnecting the cable to the router is not the answer since set also has WiFi and I did buy the thing to use on the net.
I am not really worried about my personal privacy BUT am concerned about what’s being picked up in company board rooms and government offices, research centres and the like. This must be in the same ball park as phone tapping.
I was just checking on country of manufacture and realised that if we all stop buying LG products an awful lot of people in an awful lot of countries will be upset.It is almost like the script for a Dr Who film. Wonder if the ministry of defence use LG Monitors to plot their tactics using LG servers?
I contacted the seller and they were gob smacked but LG customer support could not give a toss so far.

Dave Grant says:

Re: LG blackmail


the same situation applies to LG smart TV users in north America.

How to get around it:-

1. Turn off automatic updates

2. Ideally have a router in your network that employs a firewall that allows you to block various websites (Asus RT N66U)for instance.

3. Block all contact of your TV (both directions)and all the
sites used to spy on you and collect your data.
You may be surprised to find that you can no longer receive certain programing because not only was LG collecting data on you but also Google and the BBC and many other sites.

4. You will still not have access to those Apps, not to worry, bring up you home page and then type in the sites you want to visit, adding them to your favourites menu.

5. So, yes a little more cumbersome but now you go through favourites instead of Apps to do your watching but now without anyone collecting your data

6. Make sure that when you do the blocking in the firewall settings that you cover the potential for your devices to change their IP addresses using the . options etc.

7. Now test your work, go to Software updates and turn the option on, now ask for the latest update, if the TV responds very quickly with eaither a positive OR a negative response you probably have not blocked access, if your TV takes a while, more than 30 seconds and comes back that there are no updates you have probably succeeded in blocking accecces to the LG update site.

8. More testing, if you tried to blocked access through the router: – on your computer enter each and every IP address, individually of course, that you had tried to block, in the command line on your home page, you should receive a message that the site is unavailable or is busy or the connection was reset if you have successfully blocked a site, make sure you check each and every one.

9. See 7 above and periodically make that check to ensure that your TV is secure.

Good luck.

Oldlad (profile) says:

Re: Re: LG blackmail

Thanks Dave for the info, I will give it a whirl when other obligations permit.

I have stopped being proactive at the moment since waiting to see what my local MP does with the case info I presented to him before Parliament broke up for the summer.
He seemed very keen to follow up the personal privacy angle, but there is quite a discussion going on in the EU and UK regarding the rights of individuals and the rights of government to collect data re terrorist activity. On the lines of, it is ok for governments to spy but will they allow foreign companies the same rights??

ANDREW NAGY (profile) says:

Improper and Illegal censorship and control

I think it is totally wrong how they monitor your useage of their product. if somebody bought a chevy car and purposely hit a person with that car would chevy turn around and say u can no longer drive that car and be able to get away with that. THAT IS AN EQUIVILENT ANALOGY DONT YOU THINK???


Glenn Festog (profile) says:


Lg and Samsung’s EULAs translated into common language:

“This device is provided without warranty of any kind as to reliability, accuracy, existence or otherwise or fitness for any particular purpose and LG/Samsung specifically does not warrant, guarantee, imply or make any representations as to its merchantability for any particular purpose and furthermore shall have no liability for or responsibility to you or any other person, entity or diety with respect of any loss or damage whatsoever caused by this device or object or by any attempts to destroy it by hammering it against a wall or dropping it into a deep pit or any other means whatsoever and moreover asserts that you indicate your acceptance of this agreement or any other agreement that may be substituted at any time by coming within 5 miles of the product or observing it through large telescopes or by any other means because you are such an easily cowed moron who will happily accept arrogant and unilateral conditions on a piece of highly priced garbage that you would not dream of accepting on a bag of dog biscuits and is used solely at your own risk.”

I think that covers it. lol

Jibbs says:

Its all our own fault.

We as a people have allowed them to get away with it for years.
If everyone continues to accept it they will always do it.

Not everyone reads the Ts&Cs when they buy stuff they just click accept not realising that they have just given their privicy away as a gift.
Just one of the reasons i don’t own a mobile phone anymore.

Alternatively we can also use unofficial firmware updates or (LGMOD) written by other users who are also sick of these companies, there are plenty of forums out there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Exactly 10 years after buying my large-screen computer (aka LG Smart TV) what I think is a timed logic bomb in the operating system has suddenly stopped me from accessing Youtube (which up until recently had been working). I engaged the (obviously young and technically inept) person at the LG online helpdesk in a chat and it was during this session that my suspicions about planned obsolescence sprang to mind. Among other things, blame was directed at changes Youtube had made (in my opinion untrue), I was told to try unplugging the set for 3 hours !! I responded by asking how long it takes for a computer to cold reset which was met with “it’s not a computer, it’s a television” to which I responded by giving some specs (dual-core processor e.g) and pointing out that it was computer in everything but name and had most of the standard computer interface peripherals. It simply has a built-in TV tuner as an added peripheral. Anyway, no resolution and I took some pot shots at the company for its disingenuity, its lack of concern for the environment (how many people have trashed a perfectly good piece of hardware because its operating system was deliberately crippled?) and pointed out that rare earth metals (used in screen colour technology) are environmentally unfriendly to mine and so-on. I could have said a lot more about the crass corporate behaviour of this company. It has gone from being a favoured brand of mine (I have had experience repairing its electronic products in the past) to being one to avoid because of its lack of ethics.

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