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Has Your Vizio Smart TV Been Spying on You?

TVs that were purchased since 2014 were secretly tracking customer data — including IP addresses. Now, Vizio will pay $2.2 million to the FTC.
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Vizio TV fines

Reading privacy agreements is a boring, but crucial way to protect yourself. You wouldn't want just anyone to, say, give away access to your IP address! But what happens when a company does exactly that without your knowledge?

According to Gizmodo, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced recently that Vizio was to pay $2.2 million in fines for tracking and sharing private data without its customers' consent. Since February 2014, this process was carried out via its TVs' "Smart Interactivity" feature, which secretly tracked customers' viewing data.

Vizio had been selling customer IP addresses, which enabled third-party advertisers to target customers depending on their viewing activity.

The biggest concern that emerged from this investigation was that Vizio had been selling customer IP addresses, which enabled third-party advertisers to target customers depending on their viewing activity. Although this practice is legal and commonplace, the fact that Vizio didn't seek consent from its users lead to the FTC suit.

SEE ALSO: Buying a TV Is Easy When You Know These Terms

According to Gizmodo, current Vizio owners should know that "while the court order requires Vizio to delete all data collected prior to March 2016, it doesn’t require them to stop tracking data — just to more adequately get consent for doing so."

To learn more about this story, click here.

Readers, do you think the fines imposed on Vizio are a fair punishment? What steps do you take to ensure your data remains private? Let us know in the comments below.


Content Editor

A former Fashion Editor and Boggle champion, Donna Doyle spends her time writing for DealNews, re-reading Harry Potter, and living in denial.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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4 comments
ray62
instead of 2.2 it should have been at least 10 million and jail time for the top five people involved.
docrbk
Exactly, CinciShopper...was the FCC hurt or harassed by unwanted ads, etc? Just like most "class action" lawsuits...only the lawyers get big money while the :class: of claimants get pennies.
CinciShopper
Why is Visio paying $2.2 million to the FTC? I am the person with 2 Visio smart TV's, not the FTC. Why am I not being compensated? :(
cable305
just recently, most likely due to this lawsuit I turned on my Vizio and there was a form asking my permission to collect data based on my usage...after a five-minute freakout while I dealt with all the implications I refused their request...which by no means , means they are not going to do so anyway. daily life is getting creepier and creepier.
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