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Television Privacy

Declining LG's New Ad-friendly Privacy Policy Removes Features From Smart TVs 221

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the apt-get-install-xbmc dept.
BUL2294 (1081735) writes "Techdirt and Consumerist posted articles about a user in the UK who, after a firmware update to his 2-year old LG Smart TV, declined their new Privacy Policy, only to find that most Internet-connected features (e.g. BBC iPlayer, Skype) of the TV now no longer work. From the Techdirt article: '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? LG certainly feels it has the right to do this. In fact, it makes no secret of this in its long Privacy Policy — a document that spends more time discussing the lack thereof, rather than privacy itself. The opening paragraph makes this perfectly clear.' To add, even declining the policy still results in non-specified information being sent to LG. LG's policy of spying on the viewing habits of customers, along with sending filenames of videos stored on USB devices connected to TVs, was previously discussed on Slashdot."
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Declining LG's New Ad-friendly Privacy Policy Removes Features From Smart TVs

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  • Send it back.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:39AM (#47056685)

    Return the TV for a full refund. Under UK law you cannot impose conditions after the point of sale.

    It looks like people are going to need 3 VLANs soon... One for WiFi, one for computers with private information and a 3rd with no external access except to addresses specifically allowed.

    • I recently got my first Smart TV (I had an almost 20yr old Philips that just would not die, and in the end it never did).

      It's a Samsung and I made a point of not accepting the privacy policy. So far I have noticed nothing that does not work, which made me wonder if Samsung actually bothers to check whether or not the policy was accepted.

      How would I know if they were selling my viewing habits anyway?

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:48AM (#47056795) Homepage

        How would I know if they were selling my viewing habits anyway?

        You can probably assume that if you connected it to the internet, that it is.

        I seem to remember a story not so long ago where even if you said "no, I don't want to", some devices did anyway.

        Assume corporations are greedy and evil, and don't give a damn what you want. They probably are.

        • Plus if companies do get caught on this kind of thing, they tend to be hardly punished (by regulators nor consumers). So there's almost no reason for them to play fair.

          Having said that, not connecting it at all is not an option for me, that would break netflix. If only we could configure our own hosts file on our tv, or something.

          Maybe APK can lead the way.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Plus if companies do get caught on this kind of thing, they tend to be hardly punished (by regulators nor consumers).

            Especially since courts have upheld EULAs as being valid, even if they basically give themselves the power to do anything they like. And it's all nice and legal. For many consumers, they don't know or care -- sure I'll give you my data, just give me the stuff I want on the interwebs.

            Having said that, not connecting it at all is not an option for me, that would break netflix.

            See, my ISP give

            • Re:Send it back.... (Score:5, Informative)

              by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:21PM (#47057175)

              Especially since courts have upheld EULAs as being valid, even if they basically give themselves the power to do anything they like. And it's all nice and legal. For many consumers, they don't know or care -- sure I'll give you my data, just give me the stuff I want on the interwebs.

              Actually no, at least in the US they haven't. With the sole (and bizarre) exception of software.

              EULAs are hardly a new thing. They have been tried with everything from home appliances to garden shovels (yes, really). And the courts have consistently held that if you buy a product at retail, once you plunk down your money, the manufacturer or supplier cannot impose conditions on the use of the product. (They can void a warranty for activities that might damage the equipment, but that's about it.) There have been 2 exceptions, and they are very different kinds of exceptions:

              One has been software. However, that has still not been firmly tested in higher court. There is no rational reason why software should be different from just about every other good that is for sale.

              The other is when there is a prior agreement to use a product in a certain way. For example: your company has a contract or license with a software (or hardware!) company that imposes such rules. If you have an up-front agreement that mandates only certain kinds of use, it is enforceable.

              "Shrink-wrap licenses" (the most common form of EULA today) are generally not enforceable in the US when it is a retail purchase. But again, as I say, some courts have (bizarrely, irrationally, and against all precedent) upheld them for software, on thin grounds. If it is ever tested in the higher courts, chances are post-sale "licenses" will be struck down for software, just as they have for every other kind of product under the sun.

              • Re:Send it back.... (Score:4, Informative)

                by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:27PM (#47057241)
                I left something out which is important:

                US courts have invalidated "license agreements" or "use restrictions" on retail products, even when those restrictions are clearly visible on a package or label before purchase. Yes, really. The reasoning is: you paid your money, you own it. You have a legal right to use your property in any manner you choose. Although, as I mentioned, some uses can void the warranty, IF the warranty conditions are reasonably tied to possible damage of the product.
                • by MobyDisk (75490)

                  I constantly see posts on Slashdot claiming this, but also claiming the opposite. Is there a list of relevant cases on the topic? I just checked Wikipedia, and that article could use some help:
                  Wikipedia: Enforceability of EULAs in the U.S. [wikipedia.org]

                  • I learned about it in my Business Law courses in college, as a case study. I don't have citations on hand, but I do know they exist.

                    One of the problems with the Wikipedia article is that it appears to be ONLY about software EULAs.
                    • by meerling (1487879)
                      I remember seeing news articles about this. There have been several cases in the US where they took someone to court over an EULA. In all of them, when it looked like the corporation was going to lose, they settled out of court, thus avoiding a legal precedent they wouldn't like. I don't know if things have changed in the last few years, but I haven't heard about it.
                      Also, the courts have very explicitly stated that they don't give a damn what the license or eula says, you haven't given up your rights, perio
              • by tepples (727027) <tepples.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:30PM (#47057285) Homepage Journal

                There is no rational reason why software should be different from just about every other good that is for sale.

                Unlike physical goods, works of authorship in digital form need to be copied into RAM in order to be used, bringing in copyright law. They also often need to be decrypted in order to be used, bringing in anticircumvention law.

                • by Arker (91948) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:40PM (#47057377) Homepage
                  Copyright law actually makes an explicit exception for copying e.g. to RAM in the course of normal use. So that line will not hold up on court.
                • Unlike physical goods, works of authorship in digital form need to be copied into RAM in order to be used, bringing in copyright law.

                  Even if that were true, copyright law and EULAs are vastly different things. In fact, the First Sale Doctrine in copyright law says that a EULA is prima facie invalid. So invoking copyright law probably won't get you anywhere here.

                  They also often need to be decrypted in order to be used, bringing in anticircumvention law.

                  But the "anticircumvention law" is anticompetitive and against pretty much all legal precedent prior to DMCA. I am pretty sure that one won't last, either.

                  • But the "anticircumvention law" is anticompetitive and against pretty much all legal precedent prior to DMCA. I am pretty sure that one won't last, either.

                    The DMCA was enacted in 1998. It's been in effect for over 15 years already. Unfortunately, I think it will last.

                    That being said, I agree that the anticircumvention language of the DMCA should be removed entirely. It's one thing to say "ripping a DVD and sharing it with fifteen people is against copyright law." It's another thing to say "ripping a DVD

                    • by Arker (91948)
                      "That being said, I agree that the anticircumvention language of the DMCA should be removed entirely. It's one thing to say "ripping a DVD and sharing it with fifteen people is against copyright law." It's another thing to say "ripping a DVD is against copyright law because if you do so you MIGHT share it with fifteen people."

                      It's actually even wierder than that. Ripping the DVD is completely legal, however distributing a tool that allows you to rip the DVD is not. It may not even be legal to tell someone h
            • See, my ISP gives me a 60GB/month cap, and $10/GB over that every month. Netflix was never an option for me.

              60GB a month? Umm, what do you do on the web, email?

              A single game download these days can chew up most of that, but of course you probably don't do that. :)

              A few apps, some wifi in your house... 60GB wouldn't last me very long... that sucks...

          • Re:Send it back.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by Noah Haders (3621429) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:06PM (#47057009)

            Having said that, not connecting it at all is not an option for me, that would break netflix.

            why plug the smart tv at all, and just get a roku or apple tv? both have way better interfaces than smart tv, offer more features, and better privacy protection. At the very least, the roku/apple tv are their own little boxes, so worst case they can only share information on your activities there and not on your entire living room experience.

            srsly, some tvs have a video camera for skype? talk about a telescreen. you never know when they're watching, so you have to assume they're watching all the time.

            • by erikkemperman (252014) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:12PM (#47057075)

              srsly, some tvs have a video camera for skype? talk about a telescreen. you never know when they're watching, so you have to assume they're watching all the time.

              Yeah mine has a camera and mic. But I have duct tape, so that's all right.

          • by Arker (91948)
            "Having said that, not connecting it at all is not an option for me, that would break netflix. If only we could configure our own hosts file on our tv, or something."

            My preferred solution is simply to refuse to buy this sort of hardware at all.

            That said, having it and apparently being unable to return it, what you want to do is figure out exactly what ports and addresses it needs access to in order to get your netflix, then program your router firewall to default deny that one device, and give it as small a
            • by Darinbob (1142669)

              That's why when I finally bought a new TV recently I made sure that it was a dumb tv. Then I just added Roku, and the total cost was still less than a smart tv while giving me more control and options. It's easier and cheaper to replace a $99 box if it does something stupid with privacy than to replace the entire tv.

          • You could probably hook the TV to a decent router, and allow only the Internet IPs that you want access to like Netflix make it to the TV. There is some possibility that the menus you use to get to the NetFlix app would stop working if they can't reach the manufacturers server though if they're really that interested in tracking you.
      • Re:Send it back.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by contrapunctus (907549) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:53AM (#47056859)

        For all you know it's a placebo button ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org] ) and they might still collect everything anyway (you many have to look at data sent). I remember news stories about someone who analyzed the network data and found data still being sent (that was an LG though, http://www.tomsguide.com/us/lg... [tomsguide.com]).

      • You basically have no way of knowing what they are doing with any data they obtain; but putting a passive tap on the wire between the TV and the world and watching closely should at least tell you what they know. If they bother to encrypt it properly, of course, you may need to actually break into the embedded OS, or grovel through the firmware, which is considerably more challenging; but even knowing how much flows upstream is better than nothing.
      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        More importantly, does the fact that you declined the privacy policy mean that the services function without gathering your personal information or is it gathered regardless of your preference? In a way, the behavior of LG is more honest, since they have to spend money and resources to make the 'smart' services work. If you're not paying a subscription, you're paying with your valuable private information. I suspect that information is too valuable for other vendors like Samsung to ignore despite the pe

      • >How would I know if they were selling my viewing habits anyway?

        If this is done right (HUGE IF), there's no reason for you to care. If they operate like those of us who work with personal data, but preserve privacy, the data will all be anonymized and aggregated to be useful for analysis without identifying any individual. This may very well not be the case, in which case you do still need to care if you're interested in privacy.
    • I'm pretty sure most if not all American retailers will take it back too.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:52AM (#47056841) Homepage

      The answer is never buy a smart TV. They offer no advantages over a dumb TV and a Roku box and only offer disadvantages.

      • by EvilSS (557649)

        The answer is never buy a smart TV. They offer no advantages over a dumb TV and a Roku box and only offer disadvantages.

        Or just don't use the features. It's hard to find a "dumb" TV these days when you get past the low end sets. I have an Smart TV and I don't think I've ever used the smart features. It's a monitor for my XBMC and occasionally I will swap over to antenna if something is happening (crazy weather for example) for the local news.

      • The answer is never buy a smart TV. They offer no advantages over a dumb TV and a Roku box and only offer disadvantages.

        The problem with that is that the only Dumb TV's left are bottom tier junk. Those of us that actually care about image quality have no other options than Smart TV's.

        • by danlip (737336)

          Just don't enter your WiFi password. It can't report home if it can't connect to the internet.
          i.e. it is easy to turn a smart TV into a dumb one.

          • It hasn't happened quite yet, but soon Ethernet will be bundled along with AV feed in that HDMI cable. Actually preventing Internet access to the TV and other AV equipment will become trickier at that point, particularly for consumers who don't know how to configure their router very well.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        The problem is it's getting harder and harder to find a dumb TV. I bought a TV a few months back, and almost everything in the size range I was looking for was a smart TV. Even fewer dumb TVs were available once you add on a few extra requirements like "3 or more HDMI ports" and "reputable manufacturer". In the end, I ended up getting a smart TV. I really like some of the features on it. I can watch Netflix, play movies PLEX, wirelessly stream from my tablet. Sure I could do all that if I hooked up a com
      • by timeOday (582209)
        That's not my experience, we watch Netflix and Amazon Prime all the time on my Sony smart TV with no complaints.

        As for being tracked, it is sad, but there are no (legal) options for watching on-demand programming without be tracked. Let's check out Roku's (so-called) Privacy Policy [roku.com], shall we? "Cookies enable Roku and others to track usage patterns and deliver customized content, marketing, and advertising to you.... We may use information collected using third party cookies and Web beacons on Roku Sit

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        How is buying a Roku box any different? You still have to agree to an EULA, they can still fuck you over at any time on a whim. Maybe if you had said "buy a Raspberry Pi and install XBMC" you might have had a point, assuming you never want to use services like Netflix.

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Or you could just use the router in most home routers to block it.
  • Nope. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmailCHICAGO.com minus city> on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:39AM (#47056687)

    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?

    Of course they don't.
    I am sure that just in 3-4 years, after a lawsuit, affected customers will be able to get a $7.50 credit good towards purchase of a new LG TV.

    • look at it this way. software is written, and it contains code that will capture users' usage data. you, as the end user, have a choice. use the software, or not. seems pretty reasonable.

      LG is just formally giving you that choice. the software of their device, as written, will capture usage data. if you don't agree to that, fine, but guess what you can't use the software in that case.

  • Wait, I remember now. A long long ago, in the before-time, there was a manufacturer named "LG." They "competed" with Samsung and Sony. But then the rains came, and their factories slowed, and then finally ground to a stop. The old books told of it with their ink-words. And some elders say you can still hear their slogans at night--and that they might even still be around--hiding in the woods, foraging for scraps, surviving as best they can.

    • by BUL2294 (1081735)
      What, you mean the "Goldstar" part of LG? If you remember any Goldstar computer products from the late-80s to mid-90s, they were absolute crap. How they ever surpassed Samsung & Sony is beyond me, especially given the "Lucky" part of "LG" is a chemical company that even makes toothpaste & laundry detergents! ("Lucky Goldstar" became "LG" in 1995...)
  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:43AM (#47056731) Homepage Journal

    Shit like this is exactly why, so long as they're available, I will always opt for a 'dumb display' rather than a 'smart tv.'

    Just give me a decent size screen with a good resolution, refresh rate, and a handful of various input types.

    • by BUL2294 (1081735)
      Nothing says that even after "dumb TVs" are no longer available, that you can't turn a "smart TV" into a dumb one. It's called not giving access to your WiFi (or Ethernet) network. Done, problem solved... Even then, there are plenty of households without their own WiFi and plenty of others who don't even have broadband Internet (whether due to local unavailability or eschewing technology), so having such a disconnected TV refuse to even show video over HDMI would be untenable.

      Of course, it's only a matt
      • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:08PM (#47057025) Homepage

        Nothing says that even after "dumb TVs" are no longer available, that you can't turn a "smart TV" into a dumb one. It's called not giving access to your WiFi

        Right up until they put something in the TV which says "I haven't connected to the internet in a while, I'm stopping working until I do". Kinda like Microsoft was talking about with the XBone.

        Of course, it's only a matter of time before a TV manufacturer puts in a SIM card into a TV and broadcasts over cellular

        And to whom would the phone companies send the bill? No way they're giving something free access to the cellular network ... and no way I'd pay for it.

        The point of the SIM is to figure out who to bill. I don't think they could just sneakily connect to it without someone paying for it.

        Suddenly I'm thinking of Reg the Blank from Max Headroom and thinking he had the right idea.

        • by BUL2294 (1081735)

          Right up until they put something in the TV which says "I haven't connected to the internet in a while, I'm stopping working until I do". Kinda like Microsoft was talking about with the XBone.

          True, that's likely coming down the road. But there are a LOT of people who's access to broadband is still at work or the local library--assuming they even bother. The reason M$ decided against this, at this time, is because there are a LOT of places in the US (let alone the world) that still don't have broadband, or have crazy restrictions like 2GB/month that you'd associate with cellular networks (e.g. Alaska, Canadian Territories).

          And to whom would the phone companies send the bill? No way they're giving something free access to the cellular network ... and no way I'd pay for it.

          Well, to start off, the smart TV manufacturer would consider buying a bu

        • by Splab (574204)

          Bulk access to MVNO is pretty cheap, it's more expensive to get the sim cards provisioned for each country they operate in, and make sure they are paired with the right country.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          And to whom would the phone companies send the bill? No way they're giving something free access to the cellular network ... and no way I'd pay for it.

          Some car manufacturers do already install SIMs in their cars. Nissan and Tesla, for example. They have a deal with the phone company where they pay a reduced rate and carefully control the data connection, doing major updates at night when the network is mostly idle anyway and things like that.

          Of course the cost can be absorbed on a car costing tens of thousands, but eventually it will get down to TV prices too.

    • just never plug it in to the internet. doesn't matter how "smart" it thinks it is. unless it becomes self-aware there are no problems.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I am not sure why people buy TV such as this. A good regular TV is under $400 and should last for 5-10 years. The streaming technology, however, is going to change every few years. So it you buy a Tivo, it will run about $300 a year, at which point you can buy another Tivo for $300 to get the new stuff, but not have to buy a new TV. A new roku, fire TV, Apple TV, whatever, can be bought every year for $100 to keep up with hardware changes. Granted, a smart TV is only going cost $100 more, but after a f
  • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:45AM (#47056757) Homepage

    The primary purpose of an internet connected TV is to generate ad revenue and marketing data about you -- or at least in my cynical view it is.

    Basically they've said "if you don't consent to give us this data, we're taking away features". Probably because they can't (or won't) make the services work without it, and it's just easier to cut you off.

    Connected devices have always been a huge privacy hole, and an opportunity to have someone continue to make money off you after they've sold you the TV.

    It's also why my last TV wasn't a "smart" TV. My TV receives inputs from sources, but otherwise is essentially just a monitor with speakers.

    I view this as more or less a predictable outcome of smart TVs, because companies view them as something you're using under license, and will only give you these services if they're getting what they want in return.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Yep. My old Vizio is dying, so I'm looking for a replacement. I watch only OTA (digital) broadcasts. One feature of the old TV is a 24 hour on screen program guide. Most OTA digital signals include this programming data in their broadcast stream. So I went to the TV store looking for a new one with the same feature. Not available. If you want any such features, you must now connect your TV to the Internet. Or its crippled.

    • Basically they've said "if you don't consent to give us this data, we're taking away features". Probably because they can't (or won't) make the services work without it, and it's just easier to cut you off.

      no they aren't. they are saying that there is software on this device, much of it delivered by 3rd parties BTW, that will capture usage data. if you don't like that, here's the option to opt-out, which is not using the software.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        no they aren't. they are saying that there is software on this device, much of it delivered by 3rd parties BTW, that will capture usage data. if you don't like that, here's the option to opt-out, which is not using the software.

        Oh, OK, so "if you don't consent to give them this data, we're taking away features".

        I see, totally different. How foolish of me.

        It's not the 3rd parties disabling the functionality in the TV though, is it? It's LG, and it's in response to their updated privacy policy. Which means

    • by mlts (1038732)

      I wonder if part of it is punishment. Don't give them the data they ask for, and your TV that you paid good money for won't work. This way, people hit "accept" without question the next time a dialog like that pops up. Operant conditioning 101.

  • by cardpuncher (713057) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:48AM (#47056801)

    No. Not in UK law, I'm pretty sure, though IANAL.

    The Data Protection Act (DPA) means you have to be able to opt out of this kind of intrusive data harvesting and if the disabling of advertised functionality isn't covered by the Sale of Goods Act, it would seem that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations would apply. The DPA applies to your relationship with the data processor (LG) while the functionality of the TV is the responsibility of the retailer.

    The correct remedy would be to return the TV to the retailer and demand a refund or a "repair" and to go to the small claims court if they refuse. LG won't be happy when retailers start pushing back.

    • it depends if the change of terms if for LG specifically or pass-through for other services like NetFlix. If you decline the NetFlix terms you can't be mad at LG becuase the netflix app stops working.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:48AM (#47056805) Homepage
    customers can upgrade [xbmc.org] to a version compatible with LG's now 'dumb' televisions. this new firmware stores and receives digital media, imports users music, can be viewed in multiple rooms, and wont cripple your cat if you dont forward a list of your favourite shows to them.
  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @11:48AM (#47056807) Homepage Journal

    I won't be buying anything marked LG for quite some time; I had one of their phones about ten years ago. Buggiest piece of shit I ever saw, made Windows 95 look good by comparison. The screen would often turn upside down, backwards, all white, all black, do all sorts of strange things. Thinking "factory defect" I sent it back, and the replacement was even worse. So I'm going to have to have a whole lot of people I trust telling me how well built their LG is before I buy anything from them. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    As to their privacy policy, it's pretty obvious they stupidly and arrogantly hold their customers in contempt.

    That said, I don't want a "smart TV" at all. I'll stick with my old kubuntu computer I have plugged into my old TV's S-Video and the stereo with the big speakers, and when the TV finally dies I'll try to find one without a built-in computer, just because it makes vile shit like this possible.

  • 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?

    If by "right" you mean "legal right", then yes. Next question.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Yup, right there in the terms of service you never read but nonetheless agreed to.

      Because you don't "own" anything anymore, you use it at the indulgence of the manufacturer, and they can and will make any changes they see fit in order to maximize revenue.

      Welcome to the future!

      • Because you don't "own" anything anymore, you use it at the indulgence of the manufacturer, and they can and will make any changes they see fit in order to maximize revenue.

        not really. the difference is that TVs used to be a product, but now they are both a product and a service. You own the product but don't own the service. This british man is free to unplug the tv from the internet and use it like he's always used it. It has a great display, integrated speakers, a digital tuner for OTA or basic cable, inputs for external devices, outputs of sound or video to external devices, a stylish design, and a remote control. this is what he owns.

        I think the actual complaint is not w

        • Exactly. The only question is whether or not they used misleading marketing. I imagine they need some fine print on the box, saying "you must agree to these terms to use these services". And given that they have an army of lawyers, I would be surprised if they neglected to do that.
  • to break feature the preexisted the new firmware update should not be allowed. Maybe a fine off 200 dollars per TV they disabled.
    They should put the policy up front, and if people decline they just don't get any new features, just bug(manufacture defects) fixes.

  • I bought the Playstation 3 because of the ability to run other OSs. I liked my LG TVs because they gave me a DB-9 serial connection. I'm just old, I suppose. I still prefer openness.

  • I was glad to grab my LG TV - because it was the last one at Best Buy that wasn't a "smart" TV, no internet connectivity at all. Just a monitor.

    I really hate my $129 media player that adds 20 new for-pay services every time it updates....also LG, but I am so getting rid of it when I pull the $ together for a little computer I'll build on FLOSS from scratch, and that'll be the only thing with any smarts in my media life. Not a privacy fanatic, but it all just makes me uncomfortable and suspicious.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Why, did you get one of those piece of shit ROKU boxes? I had one, for exactly one day. Turns out the piece of shit was directly engineered to separate me from my cash. The first thing it wanted was a fucking credit card so they could start happily billing me even more for the device I just paid $100 for. The final straw was after digging through it and all the stupid "apps" for it you have to buy, I finally figured out the only way it would play my LOCAL MEDIA that I specifically purchased it for was t

      • by PRMan (959735)

        Just got a Roku 3 yesterday. Things may have changed, but here's the latest:

        * The credit card is clearly marked as an optional feature to allow convenient purchases across many apps.
        * I didn't have to buy any apps. Yes, there were some for sale, but I didn't pay for anything. (And Vudu gave me 5 free movies that I haven't seen. Thanks.)
        * I found 2 apps that would play from a USB drive for free. And I found one that will play from a Windows network share as well.
        * The app I saw claims to support .MPG,

  • When you buy hardware as a service, I guess you should expect that your hardware could fail if the service goes away for whatever reason. The problem is, the hardware isn't advertised as "working until we brick it, which may be sooner than you think". The more this happens, the more consumers will demand a firmer guarantee. Or balk at "smart" stuff altogether. Or at least expensive "smart" stuff.

    My Mom had a "Memory Frame" that used a 3rd party service to display pictures from Flickr, facebook, etc. Actuall

    • by BUL2294 (1081735)
      And with the IoT, companies will have to accept a 20+ year lifespan on their products, including security updates. Sadly, it will take some very nasty malware infections (e.g. your Nest thermostat is sending out phishing requests) and chaos before governments around the world come up with such an agreement & international laws on the matter...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:18PM (#47057137)

    Most consumer routers have a simple blacklist for ip's per pc ip. Simply block their addresses. Google them or run a wireshark on an isolated hub+pc and make note.

    I have and LG TV and the new eula needs someone to go after it. It even sends audio recording if you use the mic to their servers.

    • "It even sends audio recording if you use the mic to their servers."

      How did you expect the voice recognition to work? That's not exactly a local-capable function on a lower power machine like a TV.

  • by MooseTick (895855) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @12:22PM (#47057191) Homepage

    You could agree and then record/watch lots of Teletubbies or Barney Miller reruns while you aren't home. That will shew their data and maybe they will eventually give up.

  • I was planning on buying one eventually, but I don't care about active 3D so LG was the only manufacturer. Since I can't touch a LG product any more, that means I'll stick with 2D TVs.
    Or can you buy a dumb 3D TV anywhere? I really don't need the smart features to slow me down. I have a multipurpose external player for that.

  • It's kinda hard to have any sympathy when only an idiot connects these 'smart' consumer devices to the internet in the first place. These devices do not have any functionality that I can't already get simply using a Roku or AppleTV or Airplay or Chromecast.

    I have a bunch of these... VCRs, Receivers (for the integrated Pandora), etc. I leave them all disconnected from the internet, and so should everyone.

    Having just one media device be connected to the internet is kinda like picking your poison, but at lea

  • I never had a beef with LG before.

    Now I know I never will. I won't buy any of their connected gadgets. Bad fucking attitude towards consumers.

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