British authorities are investigating a claim that LG televisions are spying on the viewing habits of its customers and sending the data back to the company for advertisers.
The United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office told the BBC
it was looking into the allegation, made by an information technology consultant and blogger who wrote that his LG television was spying on him.
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The commission is the country's independent agency that examines information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals, according to its website.
"We have recently been made aware of a possible data breach which may involve LG Smart TVs," a commission spokesman told BBC News. "We will be making inquiries into the circumstances of the alleged breach of the Data Protection Act before deciding what action, if any, needs to be taken."
British IT expert Jason Huntley told the BBC News that his LG television uploaded information about the content of his devices attached to his TV, as well, breaking the country's law. When he contacted LG, based in South Korea, he was told that he accepted LG's terms and conditions once he purchased the TV and he should complain to the retailer.
Huntley wrote about his investigation on his website DoctorBeet's Blog on Monday.
"Earlier this month I discovered that my new LG Smart TV was displaying ads on the Smart landing screen," Huntley wrote. "After some investigation, I found a rather creepy corporate video advertising their data collection practices to potential advertisers.
"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," Huntley continued.
However, he believed all of his watching information was sent back to the company regardless if the switch was turned on or off.
BBC News reported that an LG spokesman told them it was looking into the complaint.
"Customer privacy is a top priority at LG Electronics and as such, we take this issue very seriously," the LG spokesman said. "We are looking into reports that certain viewing information on LG Smart TVs was shared without consent."
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