06 Feb Vizio to pay $2.2M to FTC, New Jersey for privacy violations
The Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey announced Monday they have reached a settlement with smart TV manufacturer Vizio for collecting data on 11 million customers without the users’ knowledge or consent, according to an FTC press release. Vizio has agreed to pay $2.2 million and, according to the stipulated federal court order, will “prominently disclose and obtain affirmative express consent for its data collection and sharing practices, and prohibits misrepresentation about the privacy, security, or confidentiality of consumer information they collect,” the FTC stated. Vizio must also delete any data collected before March 1, 2016, implement a comprehensive privacy program, and undergo biennial assessments of that program. FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen issued a concurring statement to the unanimous decision.
According to the agencies’ complaint, starting in February 2014, VIZIO, Inc. and an affiliated company have manufactured VIZIO smart TVs that capture second-by-second information about video displayed on the smart TV, including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices.
In addition, VIZIO facilitated appending specific demographic information to the viewing data, such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies allege. VIZIO sold this information to third parties, who used it for various purposes, including targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint.