Vizio Incorporated has been caught spying on its own viewers. Adding insult to injury this company sold this data without consent of viewers using Vizio televisions. This company never asked for consent of any kind from its customers.
Vizio will have to pay a two million two hundred thousand dollar fine. Since two thousand ten, Vizio has sold around eleven million Internet capable televisions. Also, Vizio began retrofitting older televisions with Internet capability.
They remotely downloaded software that would track viewer data. At no point did Vizio ask for consent or notify their customers what they were perpetrating. Vizio collected real time screen pixel data.
Vizio captured up to one billion data points per day, from possibly millions of televisions. They matched this data with a database of commercial, movie, and television information. Vizio didn’t stop at spying on live television feeds.
They conducted this same tactic with DVD players, set top boxes, cable television, streaming boxes, and over the air feeds. Vizio then turned around and sold this data to third party companies. Vizio sold following type of information including personal data:
* Viewer history
* Internet protocol address
* Marital status
* Size of household
* Home ownership
* Education level
Vizio hid this spying and profiteering racket behind “Smart Interactivity”. This feature was supposed to give customers television programming offers and services. This too was a scam that was never enabled.
Vizio is now forced to delete most of their data that they collected. Also, they must cease desist their tracking campaign. Going forward this company must disclose any data collection.
They must also ask for consent from viewers. Finally, this company must put a privacy program in place that monitors their possible nefarious activities. You can turn off “Smart Interactivity” by pressing a “MENU” button on your television remote.
Select “System” then choose “Reset & Admin”. Now you want to highlight “Smart Interactivity”. Press a right arrow to select “Off”.
You can disable “Smart Interactivity” via an mobile HDTV Settings application.