SEOUL (AP) — LG Electronics Inc. said it is investigating a claim that some of its smart TVs send information on home-viewing habits back to the company without viewers’ consent.
The investigation comes after Jason Huntley, a 45-year-old information technology consultant in Britain, detailed in his blog how his LG smart TV logged the channels he was watching and sent the data to LG.
He said the company continued to collect which channel he was watching even after he disabled the information collection feature.
Also collected were the names of files saved in an external USB hard drive plugged into the TV as well as the TV’s unique identification information.
The world’s second-largest TV maker said Thursday that customer privacy is its top priority and that it takes the issue very seriously.
“As you accepted the Terms and Conditions on your TV, your concerns would be best directed to the retailer,” LG said in an email to Mr. Huntley that outlined the response from the company’s head office in the United Kingdom.
LG introduced an ad platform to target its smart-TV users in 2012. The LG Smart AD lets advertisers reach target audiences by utilizing device information, location and details such as age and gender, LG says on its website.
It was not immediately clear, however, which features in LG’s smart TVs were triggering the data monitoring.
“All we can be sure of is that the information is being sent,” Mr. Huntley said.
He said was “very surprised” at the amount of attention he received with the blog post.
“This indicates that privacy issues are becoming increasingly important to people everywhere, as we are so dependent on technology in our everyday lives.”
Separately, Samsung Electronics Co. said it does not collect information on files in USB hard drives connected to its smart TVs. But it did not respond to a question about whether it logs users’ viewing habits. Samsung is the world’s largest TV maker.