Unlike some of their rivals in the technology market, South Korean company LG have been quick to fully own up to their mistakes in a recent story of controversy, and have instantaneously set about correcting their self-made error.
The problem created was that LG smart TV sets had been purposefully collecting ‘viewing information’ from their customers by sending transmissions of content names whenever a new channel or source is turned on (as per an agreement to LG’s ‘terms & conditions’), but that the collection of data continued even when the feature was turned off in the TV’s options menu.
In an apologetic statement made regarding the matter, LG have announced their intention of releasing a firmware update to combat the issue as soon as they possibly can, noting: “We have verified that even when this function is turned off by the viewers, it continues to transmit viewing information although the data is not retained by 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.”
They reiterated that their primary concern in their business is the customer, and that they deeply regret the concern that the reports have triggered, but attempted to claim there was little importance attached to the data collection calling it ‘viewing information’ rather than ‘personal’.
LG summarised: “This information is collected as part of the Smart TV platform to deliver more relevant advertisements and to offer recommendations to viewers based on what other LG Smart TV owners are watching. While the [USB] file names are not stored, the transmission of such file names was part of a new feature being readied to search for data from the internet (metadata) related to the programme being watched in order to deliver a better viewing experience. This feature, however, was never fully implemented and no personal data was ever collected or retained.”
While the problem appears to be en-route to a resolution, the fact that it was even raised in the first place will be a problem that hangs over LG for the foreseeable future amongst anyone who noticed it, but will the apology and quick fix keep up positive reputation for the company?