This problem might also extend to business networks if such TVs are sitting in conference rooms and are connected to company networks. To make matters worse, all of the information is sent in unencrypted form which means it could be intercepted en route to LG's servers.
LG confirmed that its TVs collected information, but denied that the information was personal or that it was used to target advertising.
"LG does not, or has ever, engaged in targeted advertisement using information collected from LG Smart TV owners," LG said Friday in an emailed statement. "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."
The company has verified that this information continues to be transmitted even when the function is turned off on the TV, but said the data is not being retained on 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 company said.
LG also confirmed that the names of media files stored on external drives, like USB flash storage devices, was being transmitted back to the company as part of a planned feature that would have involved searching for metadata related to those media files on the Internet "in order to deliver a better viewing experience."
"This feature, however, was never fully implemented and no personal data was ever collected or retained," the company said. "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," the company said. "We hope this update clears up any confusion."