VIZIO caught with secretly collecting viewing habits of 11 million smart TVs

Posted 07 February 2017 20:19 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

The American television manufacturer VIZIO has been caught with collecting viewing habits on 11 million TVs without user’s’ consent. The company has to pay $2.2 million in settlements to the American Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey.

Besides paying a large sum of money, the company also has to delete all data collected before the 1st of March 2016 and has to start a comprehensive data privacy program.

In 2014, VIZIO and a partner manufactured smart TVs that collected all kinds of viewing habits without informing users or asking for their permission. According to the FTC complaint, the viewing habits were also combined with all kinds of other data, such as age, sex, income, education, marital status and more. VIZIO sold this data to third parties that used it for all kinds of purposes such as targeted advertisements.

” Evidence shows that consumers do not expect televisions to collect and share information about what they watch. Consumers who are aware of such practices may choose a different television or change the television’s settings to reflect their preferences”, according to acting FTC chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

Posted on: 17 Feb 17 23:14
Sure, it is Vizio this time, but one week and no comments? You are aware that this is about your privacy?
I'd say you got used to be trampled on

O.k, the word "Privacy" is as stated utterly beyond the comprehension of most who says 'I ain't got nothing to hide', but all of them are way out of line/focus/whatever as it is principal questions not about you and me specifically.

Is it acceptable that they collect viewing habits without asking permissions? Is it acceptable that it is 'opt out' instead of 'opt in'?
...Is it acceptable that I ask you to start thinking in these terms?

Frankly, we have to start thinking about our near past where people gave their lives for what is still our rights for the time being. The right to not be under surveillance unless under suspicion and so forth. Rights that the corporate and governmental environment try to undermine as best they can and anyone of us not remembering this history makes sure it will repeat itself just as, if not more violent than the first time.

Once I'm done with my current busy living, I'll do a blog post in the living room outlining everything about this as an RFC, but it'll have to wait
0 Agree

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 18 Feb 17 23:06
The closest I plan on buying a smart TV is buying a TV and hooking laptops and/or Raspberry Pi-likes devices to them. At least then I will have control over the software, which means there won't be much opportunity for secret spying.

Also, why is it that corporations who violate laws like these end up settling, while individuals end up in jail. If I got caught spying on just one or two people, I would probably get more time than a violent serial criminal, while Vizio has to pay what to them amounts to mere pocket change for spying on god knows how many people. Gee, I wonder why mega-corporations keep taking away everyone's rights? Could it be that they know they'll make a lot of money, only to pay a fraction of said money to the FTC?
0 Agree

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