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Technology / Networks

Vizio pays $2.2 million in ‘Spying’ smart TV settlement

Smart TV manufacturer Vizio has agreed to pay $2.2m after it unlawfully gathered viewing data from customers.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New Jersey attorney general accused the TV company of recording minute by minute data of over 11 million viewers and then selling that data to third parties.

Vizio maintains that the data, which had been collected since early 2014, could not be matched to individuals and was sent to it’s own servers to serve as an aggregate.

In a blog post The FTC said: “Vizio collected unique data from each household with a Vizio smart TV that included not only second-by-second viewing information, but also the household’s IP address, nearby access points, zip code, and other information.

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“This settlement stops VIZIO’s unauthorised tracking, and makes clear that smart TV makers should get people’s consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information. From now on, VIZIO is required to prominently disclose their data collection and sharing practices and get permission from the TV owners.”

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Part of the settlement also states that Vizio will be more forthcoming with it’s automated content recognition system (ACR) with regards to data collection.

In a statement to Engadget, Vizio general counsel Jerry Huang said: “Vizio is pleased to reach this resolution with the FTC and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Going forward, this resolution sets a new standard for best industry privacy practices for the collection and analysis of data collected from today’s internet-connected televisions and other home devices.”

“Today, the FTC has made clear that all smart TV makers should get people’s consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information and Vizio now is leading the way.”

This is not the first time Smart TV’s have been in embroiled in privacy trouble, in 2015 Samsung devices were also found to be transmitting customer voice data.
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