In last month’s case of FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION et al v. VIZIO, INC. et al, the FTC obtained a stipulated (agreed) settlement with a permanent injunction against, and payment of over $2 million from, Vizio, which is one of the largest television manufacturers in the world.
The FTC alleged Vizio acquired from the video displayed on monitors and TV’s from viewers’ cable, broadband, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, streaming devices, etc. very specific demographic information, and second-by-second users’ viewing habits along with the viewers’ age, sex, marital status, size and income of the household, level of education, whether viewer’s owned their home and its value. In addition, the FTC asserted Vizio sold the data to others, who used it for target advertising to consumers using other devices.
On February 6, 2017, a Stipulated Order for a Permanent Injunction and Monetary Judgment was filed with the United States District Court. Although Vizio denied any liability, they were charged with participating in deceptive, unfair and unconscionable practices, misrepresentations, false promises, and omitting material facts in collecting and sharing viewers’ data while using the Smart Interactivity feature in over 10 million Vizio TV’s they sold. These are so called “smart” televisions and monitors that can connect to the internet.
Vizio agreed to disclose and obtain consent for the above data collection and sharing practices; and is prohibited from making false statements and misrepresenting the privacy, security &/or confidentiality of the viewers’ information they collect.
It is noteworthy, there presently is a consumer Class Action lawsuit filed and pending against Vizio involving this subject matter.
Sadly, our respective rights to privacy and individual expectations of being free from daily intrusion from others, whether government, business, and/or others, are being compromised as we seek to enjoy the continuing benefits of the growing number and expanding scope of our electronic devices.
With this link, consumer information published by the FTC, one can obtain varied educational and enlightening topics and subject matter.