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LG promises firmware update will fix smart TV privacy snafu

LG has said the information collected by its smart TVs was "not personal but viewing information", with a firmware update to come.

LG has responded to the furore around its smart TVs saying the information collected was "not personal but viewing information". It promises that a forthcoming firmware update will fix a problem whereby information continued to be transmitted even when the function was turned off.

The problems came to light earlier in the week in a blog post by IT consultant Jason Huntley, aka Doctor Beet, who analysed data being transmitted over his network by his LG TV.

"Information such as channel, TV platform, broadcast source, etc. that is collected by certain LG Smart TVs is not personal but viewing information," a spokesperson for the Korean company said in a statement today. "This information is collected as part of the Smart TV platform to deliver more relevant advertisements and to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching.

"We have verified that even when this function is turned off by the viewers, it continues to transmit viewing information although the data is not retained by the server. A firmware update is being prepared for immediate rollout that will correct this problem on all affected LG Smart TVs so when this feature is disabled, no data will be transmitted."

The firm also clarified an issue, also raised by Doctor Beet, that saw names of files streamed to an inactive URL.

"While the file names are not stored, the transmission of such file names was part of a new feature being readied to search for data from the internet (metadata) related to the program being watched in order to deliver a better viewing experience," LG says. "This feature, however, was never fully implemented and no personal data was ever collected or retained. This feature will also be removed from affected LG Smart TVs with the firmware update.

"LG regrets any concerns these reports may have caused and will continue to strive to meet the expectations of all our customers and the public."

Has LG's statement quietened your concerns? Would you still buy a TV from LG? Stream your personal data into the comments below, or over on our privacy-conscious Facebook page.

Update 22 November: LG got in touch again to clarify another point. "LG does not, or has ever, engaged in targeted advertisement using information collected from LG Smart TV owners," a company spokesperson said in a statement.