LG Will Take The 'Smart' Out Of Your Smart TV If You Don't Agree To Share Your Viewing And Search Data With Third Parties

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CUSHING T., LG Will Take The 'Smart' Out Of Your Smart TV If You Don't Agree To Share Your Viewing And Search Data With Third Parties, techdirt.com, 20.05.2014

Type Article
Link https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140511/17430627199/lg-will-take-smart-out-your-smart-tv-if-you-dont-agree-to-share-your-viewing-search-data-with-third-parties.shtml
Topics Business Model, Contract, Data Protection, Property


"Does a manufacturer have the right to "brick" certain integral services just because the end user doesn't feel comfortable sharing a bunch of info with LG and other, unnamed third parties? "

This question arises on the basis of a statement of a purchaser of a LG TV: "Because I will not agree to LG's Privacy Policy, I can now no longer access/use any of of the TV's network based programs: Iplayer, Skype, 3D etc. As of the 7th May following a software update to our less than two year old LG TV. I was confronted with a message asking me to read and agree with a couple of important new documents. So like a good little citizen I read and agreed with the first doc regarding use of said TV. but having read the Privacy Doc I was not best pleased with the companies assumption that I would simply agree to their sharing all our intimate viewing details (plus what ever else they can see)with all and sundry. Since I agreed not to hack into installed software (as if I Could)We cannot get around the block. I think the company must be in breach of contract since the smart functions are no longer available. Surely in the uk at least you should not be able to change the goal posts at will. Any one sorted this problem yet?? Before some smart alec says "Take It back". We bought the set because it satisfied our criteria at the time. We did not expect some legal bully to come along nearly two years later and tell us to share all our information with the world OR ELSE??".

The Privacy Policy of LG starts in this way: "Our Privacy Policy explains and seeks your agreement for how we collect, use, and share information that we obtain as a result of your use of LG Smart TV Services, as well as how we use cookies. You do not have to agree to the Privacy Policy but if you do not, not all Smart TV Services will be available to you. [emphasis added] In that case, we will still receive certain non-identifying information from your Smart TV that we need to provide the basic functions that will be available." The author comments saying: "So, even if you don't agree to share information, you'll still be sharing information. To top it off, you won't be able to use many of the functions that put the "smart" into LG's Smart TV. "

The use of most of the smart features of the TV requires the creation of an LG SmartWorld Account: "For example, some of our services require that you become a member of LG SmartWorld, which may be subject to separate terms. You may join LG SmartWorld either through your LG Smart TV or by other means, such as through certain LG websites. This Membership Information may include your user ID, password, telephone number, name, date of birth, gender, email address, address, social networking service ID, security question answers, purchase history, and related payment information, such as credit card information or details of your PayPal account and more."

N.B. "UK law does offer some additional protections in this regard. The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulation of 1999 notes the following in its long list of specified "unfair terms": "enabling the seller or supplier to alter unilaterally without a valid reason any characteristics of the product or service to be provided". LG presenting customers with the false choice of a) giving up control of their data or b) losing access to a great deal of the Smart TV features could be construed as "altering the characteristics of the product." A lot would depend on the investigating agency's definition of "valid reason." LG's Privacy Policy claims that most of what it collects is essential to provide these "smart" services. Indeed, many of them are. But there's also plenty in that wording that indicates LG is collecting additional information solely for the purpose of providing ads. Whether or not that's a legally "valid reason" is still up for discussion." See Opinion 02 /2013 on apps on smart devices.

See Mauritius Declaration on the Internet of Things.

"LG seems very concerned that Smart TV owners won't allow it to provide them with "relevant ads." This focus on advertising might give one the impression that a Smart TV is subsidized by ad sales, rather than paid for completely by the end user." On the Privacy Policy, it is moreover stated: "We may display relevant personalized advertising on your LG Smart TV. [...] When displaying advertisements, we may partner with advertising companies and other business partners [...]. If you have chosen not to receive personalized advertising, your LG Smart TV may still display advertisements in connection with the provision of certain Smart TV services. Those advertisements would be selected using non-personal information such as the region where your LG Smart TV is located, as indicated by your TV’s Device Information, and the content that your LG Smart TV is displaying. In addition, if the Live Plus service is on, you may see interactive overlays that invite you to purchase products or services in connection with the content you are watching" (source: http://gb.lgappstv.com/appspc/footer/footer/moveDeviceTerms.lge?type=S_PRG&level=2&link=202). The author of the present article is therefore probably right in supposing that it may be a business model issue.