Your Smart TV Spied on You – LG Admits Collecting Information

LG LogoLG – a South Korean company that makes multiple electronics including “Smart TVs” – admitted that their televisions reported back watching habits to the company. Even if the consumer selected a preference that essentially was suppose to deactivate the tracking option.

LG would monitor viewing duration, how the consumer selected channels and filenames on the connected devices (such as USB drives) to deliver better targeted ads. A blog by Doctor Beet first noticed this issue as he wrote about how he turned off the “Collection of watching info” to off, but still recorded how the TV continued to send information to LG.

Blogger Graham Cluley then posted this LG statement stating that a future firmware update will fix this feature. Further, the company will remove the data collection of USB and share drives while assuring customers they never used or retained this data.

In the meantime, if you own an LG TV and do not want information sent to the company, you can block certain websites including (via Tom’s Hardware):

  • ad.lgappstv.com
  • yumenetworks.com
  • smartclip.net
  • smartclip.com
  • smartshare.lgtvsdp.com
  • ibis.lgappstv.com

Shut that Forum down (or clean it up)

Before I got into blogging and podcasting, I ran a few internet forums. It was easy – setup a YABB (Yet Another Bulletin Board System) forum and let the minions have at. I had some pretty interesting forums in my day, and with it, a lot of controversy. Still, I kept things cleaned and tidy. Spammers were dealt with quickly and swiftly.

I still have one forum running. It’s more of a homage to those days, if anything. There are some that still come on to talk, so I keep it going.

Recently I have seen a lot of forums that have not been touched by a human. The story is the same – the forum owner pretty much abandons it, but keeps the registration simple. Within a couple months, the first spammer shows up. Maybe it’s a post about male growth pills. Maybe it’s about meeting up with girls. Nonetheless, it’s a spammer doing what they do best.

Now normally I wouldn’t care two hoots if you left your forum to deteriorate like an old shack in the middle of the woods. However, the spam starts to grow, and with it malware. Links to websites of naked girls are really sites that try to infect your computer. Links to cool videos turn out to be phishing schemes linking to misleading login pages.

Bottom line – you are infecting computers and allowing people to be swindled out of money.

We as a web community should be aware of what we do. After all, if you do own a house, you want to make sure that it is continually stable in it’s structure. When the power goes down, if the roof leaks, if the basement grows mold – you fix it. That should be the same mentality of a website.

Simple checks of your web domain(s) can keep things running smoothly. Forums that have been over run should be shut down or cleaned up. Deleting forum spam is an important part of being a webmaster.

Even newer websites should have some precautions taken. If you have a blog, make it so comments are moderated first. Install Akismet to block some of the malfeasance. Tie down some areas, including the registrations, so people don’t have to read or accidentally get malware or phished.

Part of keeping the bad stuff off the internet is to make sure the hackers and phishers don’t have a place to put their information – on your dime. And if you don’t have the time or energy to maintain a website, then either lock it down and clean it up or shut it off.

It’s ok to loose interest in something. Heck, I do that all the time. However, you should also clean up your mess you left behind. Otherwise, good people could be swindled out of $250,000 because they think they won a lottery. Good people could loose out just trying to find out about the new miracle male enhancement pill. Most important, you might just get blocked by Google, anti-viral programs, reporting services that keep an eye on the web and a lot more.

You never know when someone gets hit with hacking. Heck, it might even be your family or friends that get affected and infected. You don’t want that, do you?

Want to see an Internet Oxymoron?

Check out this screenshot. Tell me why it’s an Oxymoron:

The Internet Oxymoron

If you said “This is an Associated Press article – I CANNOT share it on Mixx, Buzz, Digg, Reddit, Facebook or Newswire”, then you are correct!

If you go to the A.P.s site, you do not see any sharing widgets. However, if you go to the sites that pay for the content, they could have these little add-ons to try and promote their brand. But with these widgets, they could be in breech of their contract.

The Associated Press has said it doesn’t want to squelch new media, but it will go after sites that post it’s content and make money on it. Isn’t that like EVERY site on the Internet?

Back in June, the AP told their reporters to police social media like Facebook and Twitter. The idea would be to identify and irradicate any posts that violate their usage policies. So you could get a take down notice if you post  or “Re Tweet” those A.P. articles.

If you have a website and you have A.P. content on it, you might want to think about those little blurbs to suggest sharing the articles. You may be inadvertently breaching your contract.

I wonder if someone should start a list of Websites that use A.P. so we all know not to share the data from it. Of course, I am not going to rock that boat. However, if you know of a website that is an Associated Press site, you might want to comment on it below…