If you own a Vizio smart TV, it’s very likely that your viewing habits have been tracked and sold to marketers. Television manufacturer Vizio will pay $2.5 million to settle claims it tracked consumer viewing habits and then sold the information. The agreement – which includes $1.5 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and $1 million to New Jersey, the state that launched the investigation – was announced on Feb. 5. Kevin Moriarty, a lawyer with the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, stated:
This settlement stops Vizio’s unauthorized tracking, and makes clear that smart TV makers should get people’s consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information.
Vizio also agreed to delete any user data collected before March 1, 2016. According to the FTC, Vizio installed software on 11 million smart TVs to track viewing habits without consumers’ knowledge. The data included second-by-second information from cable, internet, set-top boxes, DVD players, over-the-air channels and streaming devices. The tracking began with sets produced in 2014 but was added via software updates on older models as well. For its part, Vizio said it never paired the data with personal information such as names or contact details. The FTC said if you own a Vizio TV, you should go to your TV’s settings menu and look for information about automated content recognition (ACR). You can find out more information on disabling those features there.
Sources: Leada Gore with AL.com
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