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VIZIO Settlement: Smart TVs should not track your shows without your O.K.

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For decades, only you knew the television programs you watched from your living room. That’s starting to change. The FTC recently explored this at its Smart TV workshop. The data generated when you watch television can reveal a lot about you and your household. So, before a company pulls up a chair next to you and starts taking careful notes on everything you watch (and then shares it with its partners), it should ask if that’s O.K. with you. VIZIO wasn’t doing that, and the FTC stepped in.

Today, the FTC announced that VIZIO agreed to settle charges that it violated the law when it used its automated content recognition (“ACR”) software in more than 11 million internet-connected VIZIO televisions to determine what people watch – without their consent. VIZIO collected unique data from each household with a VIZIO smart TV that included not only second-by-second viewing information, but also the household’s IP address, nearby access points, zip code, and other information. They also shared that information with other companies.

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. From now on, VIZIO is required to prominently disclose their data collection and sharing practices and get permission from the TV owners. The company also has to delete most of the data it already collected and put in place a privacy program that also checks their partners’ privacy practices.

If you own a VIZIO TV, go to your TV’s settings menu and look for information about automated content recognition (“ACR”). For more information on privacy, identity and online security check out FTC’s advice at consumer.ftc.gov.

Tagged with: privacy

Comments

The FTC works to get money back to consumers. In fact, in the last four months alone, the FTC has distributed over $250 million to consumers as the result of recent FTC settlements with AT&T, Herbalife, Lumosity, One Technologies, Mercola.com, and others.

But in some cases, refunds are just not feasible because the individual check amounts would be too small, especially compared to the costs of printing and mailing the checks. VIZIO is one of those cases. When refunds are not feasible, the FTC sends the money to the US Treasury to help pay the cost of operating the federal government.

Why does it go to the Government? Sounds like another Scam

Ok I own 2 of these smart Vizio TVs and watching a DVD can they see what kind of DVD I was watching and other programs and could they just record what you was watching How do the consumer know that they could really see you. I got noticing with all of our computers turned off in the house or router would be sending signals out. I told the wife some one is using our Satellite feed and some how they got our code. I got unplugging our router thinking it was someone close by using or system and it was Vizio.I have one of these tvs in the living room and the other one right in front of the bed in the Bedroom. Dang

Please make it easy to be compsentated for this invasive procedure

They should check into Direct TV and Cable TV also.....

The F.T.C. Needs to post some answers to these comments and questions on how we, the consumers, can be compensated on this lawsuit settlement or else we need to start considering filing a lawsuit against the F.T.C. for taking compensation from a settlement that we the victims of Vizio deserve. How do we file a claim to be compensated from this settlement? I at least want to be compensated for the purchase of a privacy invading television.

Come now, this has been going on for years with most major brands. Don't act so surprised. I'd simply request that all manufacturers offer 'dumb' versions of their TVs as well.

We own 3 vizios...and live in the country where we have to have satellite internet that is costly and data limited and I have been telling my husband the tv was stealing my data for a couple of years now...I have the additional issue of data swiping and am not very happy with Vizio. Once again the big companies can do what they want as there are no repercussions

Bottom line:Since the Consumer's have been violated.They should receive a monetary settlement.Our personal info is at risk. This should be a given. We didn't ask for the violation nor should we have endured such. SO WHO'S RECEIVING THIS SETTLEMENT?????

The FTC works to get money back to consumers. In fact, in the last four months alone, the FTC has distributed over $250 million to consumers as the result of recent FTC settlements with AT&T, Herbalife, Lumosity, One Technologies, Mercola.com, and others.

But in some cases, refunds are just not feasible because the individual check amounts would be too small, especially compared to the costs of printing and mailing the checks. VIZIO is one of those cases. When refunds are not feasible, the FTC sends the money to the US Treasury to help pay the cost of operating the federal government.

I have 5 Vizio TVs. Looking for more info on class action. I owned these TVs since the smart feature came up.

I own 2 Vizio TV's, both are 3 years old. How do I become a part of a class action lawsuit?

this is very disturbing. I own a Vizio Smart TV.

Had a Vizio and returned it b/c of the weird app it came with. Where is the money going? Back to consumers or to the US gov?

I have 2 VIZIO TV's and want to get in on the class action law suite. Very wrong of these creeps spying on us and collecting our information. In fact I think I'll call them now and make them reimburse me for my cable the past few years and send me 2 new TV's . Angry

Vizio kept putting up something on my Visio TV's (2) and I could not get it off. It had "AGREE" highlighted and would not let me move to the settings. Could not change the channel either. Had to shut the TV off to get rid of it and to change the channel.

I had a Vizio 7 years ago which I had won from my job the first year I was there and it lasted a year before it froze up . Will I be included in this

If I committed these atrocities, i'd be frog marched to jail. They should be made to compensate like myself who own a vizio smart TV for making monetary gains without my knowledge.

So what is the deal? How do we as consumers who own Vizio smart t.v.'s get compensated for the invasion of our privacy? How do we get an option to get new devices if we so choose? The f.t.c. should not just be able to get rich off of our misfortune.

The FTC works to get money back to consumers. In fact, in the last four months alone, the FTC has distributed over $250 million to consumers as the result of recent FTC settlements with AT&T, Herbalife, Lumosity, One Technologies, Mercola.com, and others.

But in some cases, refunds are just not feasible because the individual check amounts would be too small, especially compared to the costs of printing and mailing the checks. VIZIO is one of those cases. When refunds are not feasible, the FTC sends the money to the US Treasury to help pay the cost of operating the federal government.

I am beginning to wonder about an issue we had with our Vizio smart tv. The smart functions began to go haywire then we had no connectivity.The rest of the tv is fully functional. Over the phone the techs hacked into my tv and were controlling the whole thing. They could power on, change settings, channels, options but said no fixing the smart malfunction. It was an invasion and full take over! If anyone starts a class action I am on board.

I have a Vizio TV ... Bought approx 3 years ago. I would like to join a class action lawsuit. I'm very angry that I was not made aware that they were spying on me.

My son use to laugh because I wouldn't by any "Smart" product (tv's,appliances,ac thermostat etc) until hacker's did exactly what I said would happen when camera's where added to tv's.

I love Vizio but not surprised & I'm sure many other companies are doing the same or similiar.

I'm thankful federal laws are finally being put in place & hopefully can catch up with changing technology.

kept an old car & some electronics: tv's, house phone(cord attached lol)etc for fun memories and if I could, I'd add my privacy; as it too has become a thing of the past....

If our new President wants to keep his campaign promises as well as his New Position of U S President promises, then he should let companies that "SPY" on our citizens be barred from doing business in the USA and not let the Govt agencies collect the fines but give these monies to the citizens who were spied upon and had their information released to other companies who paid these TV companies countless amounts of money to obtain our personal information! The FTC should be ashamed if itself and the new board person that our President appointed should be fired!

The FTC works to get money back to consumers. In fact, in the last four months alone, the FTC has distributed over $250 million to consumers as the result of recent FTC settlements with AT&T, Herbalife, Lumosity, One Technologies, Mercola.com, and others.

But in some cases, refunds are just not feasible because the individual check amounts would be too small, especially compared to the costs of printing and mailing the checks. VIZIO is one of those cases. When refunds are not feasible, the FTC sends the money to the US Treasury to help pay the cost of operating the federal government.

Very informative. Just a quick thanks for that tidbit of info, truly appreciate it. Sincerely, Lisa

The question which remains: Was there any provision in the settlement which requires VIZO to offer an update to these TVs, which will either remove code which performs the data gathering/reporting function, or allow such code to be disabled WITHOUT loosing other Smart TV functions? These devices were sold based on advertised smart functionality, WITHOUT stating any provision requiring the consumer agree to data gathering and reporting to gain access to that functionality. Therefore, we should have access to that functionality even if we DO NOT agree to allow data gathering and reporting.

Class action lawsuit anybody?

NT HAPPY WITH MY EXPERENCE DO NOT THINK I WILL BUY ANOTHER VIZIO PRODUT

I'm in on the class action law suit let get started

where can I file or join law suit?

"violated the law" but no one at the company is facing charges...hmmmm

I recently bought a Vizio TV. FTC should know that this company has made it so that they "notify" you that they will gather data but does NOT provide a way to decline. That is a very dishonest way to comply with the spirit of the requirement.

We turned on the set last evening and, for the first time, the notice came on notifying us of the ACR issue. It went off before I was able to write any information down to use in disabling the interactivity. The above comments have been helpful. I will now attempt to disable the "spying" I find so intrusive. Also, an observation: We have been receiving many phone calls from blind numbers and robo calls, etc. The "do not call list" must not be working. Can these be related to the information previously collected? ANNOYING!!

The damage is already done. Our information has already been collected and distributed/sold against our will and yet all that VIZIO had to do was "delete the data and get our consent in the futue"? thats a load of bull. It honestly looks as though Vizio simply paid off the government (FTC) to forgive this Stasi style privacy invasion and both Vizio and the FTC did nothing to repair the damage done to the consumer.

When is the Deadline to Opt In, Register etc.?

I have no issue with the FTC keeping the "punitive" damage earnings from a legitimate misuse of personal information by a vendor suit. The fine is meant to make them think twice about doing it again. The smartest way to handle this going forward is for us to think twice and consider maybe we stop buying Vizio products.

In this settlement, VIZIO, Inc, agreed to pay $1.5 million to the FTC and $1 million to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, with $300,000 of that amount suspended.

In some cases, refunds are not feasible because the individual check amounts would be too small, especially compared to the costs of printing and mailing the checks. VIZIO is one of those cases. When refunds are not feasible, the FTC sends the money to the US Treasury to help pay the cost of operating the federal government.

Visio is in violation of the FTC agreement.

After previously verifying my Visio was not configured to collect the offending data, my Visio (M60-C3) got an update last night (March 18, 2017), after this update I got a privacy message regarding the collection of viewing data along with a confirmation selection. I did not give authorization to collect the information, yet after checking my system settings, my Visio TV was now configured to collect the viewing information. I then did a factory reset of my TV, and after the reset, my TV defaulted to collecting viewing information without my permission, and I was not given any notifications.

Visio needs to be held accountable for their failure.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I will gladly file a complaint. First, what is the correct Complaint Category to file this under?

Please use "Other" and then "NO MATCH FOUND." The FTC will categorize your complaint for you.

I guess we as individuals need to sue Vizio ourselves. If I worked for the company(essentially what we were unknowingly doing) and was compensated for my time that would be at least 50k a year they would owe us each. I've had my Smartt for 3 years so $150,000 lawsuit

My set will go black screen on me as I have tracked it every Sunday at 12:00-1:00 pm. if I have my set on for a few hours. I have to shut it off and then restart., Also block me from you third party list!!! I am so glad I have caller ID but it gets really annoying when I get calls late at night!

Vizio should be sued for making such poor equipment. Is the settlement anything more than a ruse to collect e mail and mobile phone information?

How do we proceed on filing a claim?
Thanx!

I, also, have a sound problem. The sound cuts out and the picture freezes. How do I file on this law suit?

This is good to know about the Vizio tracking issue and settlement. I have unplugged and not used my Vizio Smart TV for over a year because it turned itself on remotely! The TV is downstairs, no one was in that room and it suddenly just turned on. Has anyone else had this weird issue?

I have 2 visio TVs and one goes off and on all the time that’s the 32inch and my 60inch won’t let me play a lot I’d the smart tv things like utube it goes off and stops To where I have to re-boot it all the time! Sometimes it just goes off and won’t come back on and I have cable! I couldn’t figure out why it was doing this. As the 32 inch wouldn’t even let me use the smart feature all the time.

When you access the class action website and attempt to submit the claim it allows you to complete the form but does nothing when you hit submit. Is anyone else experiencing this issue? I've attempted this numerous times.

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