Vizio Settles FTC Suit For $2.2 Million

Posted: Feb 7 2017, 5:27am CST | by , in News | Latest Business News


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Vizio settles FTC suit for $2.2 million

Vizio isn't out of hot water yet, one court claims it sold sensitive information such as SSNs as well

Vizio is one of the top TV makers in the US today thanks mostly in part to its lower price than the competition. Vizio has been in trouble with the FTC for snooping on its customers viewing habits via its line of popular smart TVS. Vizio has agreed to pay a $2.2 million settlement to end the suit after the suit was able to show that Vizio has snooped on users viewing habits for years. Vizio was collecting viewing data and then selling that data to third parties.

The FTC suit was filed against Vizio and its subsidiary Inscape Services by the FTC, Attorney General of New Jersey,and the director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. According to the FTC the data that Vizio was selling to third parties showed specifically what show was watched, second by second, and that information was recorded and sold along with IP data and MAC addresses, Wi-fi networks and more. That means the data could be matched by a third party to the individual household or person.

The data did not include specific names, but it did include personal details such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education, and homeownership says the FTC. The feature of the TV that recorded all this data was called "Smart interactivity" and claimed to offer users program offers or suggestions.

The feature said nothing about tracing the user data and viewing habits. The FTC goes on to claim that the "Defendants have not provided any 'program offers or suggestions' or 'program-related information' for most televisions for more than two years." Even more disturbing is that the FTC found that Vizio had updated older TVs that didn't originally come with the feature to have the feature and opted the customers into the program automatically.

Along with the FTC fine, Vizio has to delete the data collected until March 2016. Sadly while the FTC says that it proved all this, Vizio has to admit no wrongdoing. One of the courts in the case claims that Vizio was going so far as to sell sensitive data such as information about kids in the home, social security numbers, health information, and precise geolocation information and there may be more action on those claims at a later date.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
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