"They" Have Their Spies In Your TV Now

You can understand why Doctor Beet wondered WTF was going on. His new web enabled LG TV was showing him ads on its home screen. Being a bit of a nerd he investigated and discovered a hidden, undocumented setting to switch off collection of his viewing habits.

Still suspicious, as you would be because why would a device for watching TV programmes collect data on your viewing habits when TV is a non interactive medium, he monitored the packets flowing from his TV’s network interface and discovered that even with this “data-collection” switch set to off the TV still phoned home with the name of every program he or his family chose to watch, as well as the filenames of every video he loaded over its USB interface. All of this data was sent in the clear to LG’s servers.

And they built a “picture” of his tastes and aim targeted ads at him.

When he contacted LG, they told him “tough, you consented to have your privacy invaded to this by clicking through the EULA, oh and BTW, you might tell your wife her minge hair needs a bit of a trim before you next have sex on the sofa.” Then they advised the customer that they did not give a flying fuck about his or any other customer’s feelings once the money had cleared into their account and that if he had any complaints to take up with the store where he bought the set, because they should have told him about the spying before selling it to him.

Except of course, retailers are not told they are selling surveillance equipment disguised as Television sets.

If you are one of those pathetic sheeple who never does anything interesting and so thinks it is OK for businesses, government and really eviul bastards to gather data on your activities coz … well technology is so wonderful, do you know who has been looking at you bank account recently? Do you. Do you want the boss to know you watch Chicks With Dicks at 11:30 pm on Channel 5?

TV phones Home With Your Viewing Habits

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10 Responses to “"They" Have Their Spies In Your TV Now”

  1. The_Walrus Says:

    Dr Beet needs to sort his firewall, pronto. And maybe start sending them millions of packets of random numbers…

    • ianrthorpe Says:

      If the tv sends an identifier when it is switched on and is sending the data, the firewall can’t help him. Its the same as we cannot stop Microsoft installing shit on our hard drives because the portal is already open.

      Why would anyone want a web enabled tele, that’s what I want to know. I can watch iPlayer on the bigger screen by connecting a lead from the laptop SVC port to a scart socket.

      • The_Walrus Says:

        I’m not ace at networky stuff, but some routers ought to be able to block that stuff. Probably. SCART’s a bit low-fi, innit? Hey ho. Some days I miss my old Nascom.

      • ianrthorpe Says:

        Routers would be able to block it but only if the user manually edited the settings to block certain domains. Dynamic IP address allocation means there’s no point blocking specific IP addresses.

        Start is low fi, that’s the point. Low tech is our best protection these days. When I ran Win 98 (up to 2007) I never bothered with anti virus, just disalllowed VB scripts and made it difficult for intruders to edit my startup file.

        Simples.

      • The_Walrus Says:

        Currently, three boxes in our lounge have ethernet to the router. One of these days I really must get Wireshark to see what they are doing.

        If I still had my old Z80 system, I would be able to surf the web without fear. But the 2400 Baud modem was a drag.

      • ianrthorpe Says:

        If you still had your old Z80 you’d still be able to walk downstairs backwards while counting in hexadecimal, a favourite trick of yours, you once told me.

        If I could switch off VB scripts in XP or Win 7 I would not have half so many concerns about what the cartel are doing inside my system. I had no great love of Win 98 but it seems to me everything we are told is progress these days takes us a step backwards towards digital serfdom.

        It isn’t that I do anything secret, just that its my machine, I bought it with my money and I never asked for software portals giving government agencies, Microsoft Fascists, Google Nazis, Facebook Stalinists or other evil bastards access to it.

        They can buy their own computers.

      • The_Walrus Says:

        You haven’t quite remembered it… I walked downstairs in the normal way, counting backwards in hex from 0xFB, and rather than being a trick, I found I was doing it without having consciously decided to do so.

        Be that as it may… you may be able to disable VB scripts, according to this http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee198684.aspx

        I’ve got sufficiently familiar with W7 to almost like it, though I still have an XP machine for the free version of Cubase to run on. I completely agree with you about keeping these people out of my machine, even though I’m very boring and innocent.

      • ianrthorpe Says:

        I knew about disabling all scripts but a lot of pages will not run with js disabled, though there’s no reason why they could not be run on the sever other than dodgy page design (which I’m guilty of myself).
        It’s VB scripts wot do the damage, basic being the command line language. i.e. run c:windowstemporary-internet-filesnastymalware.vbs tucked away in and advery somewhere.

        If your XP system give up the ghost, my son, a professional muso and former cubase man, now swears by freebie Audacity.

      • The_Walrus Says:

        Thanks indeed for the tip about Audacity! I have it somewhere, but didn’t realise it would do what Cubase does. I don’t let Microsoft update the XP machine any more, so it should keep going for a while, touch wood.

      • ianrthorpe Says:

        I don’t know that Audacity will do everything cubase did, I have no idea what my son does with music, but he seems to think it’s a good substitute.

        If your XP system came preloaded you should be able to back up everything then reinstall Windows from the i386 folder ( http://www.easydesksoftware.com/I386.htm ). Worth doing every couple of years.

        Course because some of us are lazy we keep putting it off until we get an irrecoverable crash. Then, we happy few (we band of brothers?) who kept our old hard drives and bought a USB external disk housing can plug in our old Win 98 disk and start from that and use it for salvaging data and applications.

        Everyone else is fucked.

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