Vizio has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission after the television manufacturer was caught gathering data from over 11 million TVs without permission for years, reported huffingtonpost.com.
The stipulated federal court order requires VIZIO to prominently disclose and obtain affirmative express consent for its data collection and sharing practices and prohibits misrepresentations about the privacy, security, or confidentiality of consumer information they collect. It also requires the company to delete data collected before March 1, 2016, and to implement a comprehensive data privacy program and biennial assessments of that program, according to ftc.gov.
“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,” the lawsuit states.
The FTC’s lawsuit also mentioned wired and wireless MAC addresses were captured as well as “ACR software captures up to 100 billion data points each day from more than 10 million Vizio” TVs; the data was stored indefinitely, reported wsj.com.
The first video privacy lawsuit against Vizio was filed last November, less than one week after ProPublica reported that Vizio tracks television viewers by default, and then shares data with companies that send targeted ads to people’s phones, tablets, and other devices, according to mediapost.com.
To some extent, the FTC seems to be trying to make an example of Vizio here. While the settlement isn’t a huge sum, it indicates that companies using smart TV software to their advantage and without getting consumers’ consent will have to answer for their shady practices, stated theverge.com.