When Smart TVs become too smart for comfort, it hits the headlines and becomes a PR nightmare for a company. LG is now in the hot seat after an IT consultant based in United Kingdom, Jason Huntley, blogged about his discovery that his LG Smart TV is sending information to the manufacturer that may help it serve better-targeted ads and program recommendations. In response, LG has updated its privacy and cookie policy on Friday.

Huntley posted on November 18 his findings about the on data collection activities of his LG Smart TV on his DoctorBeet's Blog. He analyzed the data being transmitted by his Smart TV.

"Earlier this month I discovered that my new LG Smart TV was displaying ads on the Smart landing screen. After some investigation, I found a rather creepy corporate video advertising their data collection practices to potential advertisers," Huntley's blog stated.

He found out that LG has been collecting information such as device ID, channel name, and even filenames stored in an external USB hard drive. The data collection continued even if "Collection of watching info" on the TV's system is turned off. Huntley contacted LG and got a response via email that his concern was forwarded to the LG UK Head Office.

LG issued a statement on Friday via its privacy page for the UK.

"At LG, we are always aiming to improve our Smart TV experience. Recently, it has been brought to our attention that there is an issue related to viewing information allegedly being gathered without consent. Our customers' privacy is a very important part of the Smart TV experience so we began an immediate investigation into these claims," the statement pointed out.

"LG does not, or has ever, engaged in targeted advertisement using information collected from LG Smart TV owners. Information such as channel, TV platform, broadcast source, etc. that is collected by certain LG Smart TVs is not personal but viewing information. This information is collected to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching," it further explained.

LG announced that it will be updating the firmware of its Smart TVs to address the issue.

"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. 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. We hope this update clears up any confusion," LG said.

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