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Vizio Smart TV's Spied on Customers Leading to a $2.2 Million Settlement

samantha severyn

Early February 2017 The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Vizio used their smart TV’s to spy on over 11 million customers. According to the lawsuit, Vizio captured second by second data from cable, broadband, set-top boxes, over-the-air broadcasts, DVDs and streaming devices. The lawsuit also accused Vizio of linking customers sex, age, and income to the data to sell to advertisement targeting firms. Vizio is pleading the 5th as to whether they did or did not perform these illegal activities, yet, they have agreed to pay $2.2 million over the accusations that they secretly collected and sold data about customers locations, demographics, and viewing habits.

“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,” Kevin Moriarty, an attorney with the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, wrote in a blog post. “Vizio wasn’t doing that, and the FTC stepped in.”

 

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The FTC is represented by staff attorneys Kevin H. Moriarty and Megan E. Cox. The New Jersey Attorney General's Office is represented by Deputy Attorneys General Kent D. Anderson, Elliott M. Siebers and Russell M. Smith Jr., and Assistant Attorney General John M. Falzone III.

Vizio is represented by Kevin M. McDonough, Scott Jones and Jennifer C. Archie of Latham & Watkins LLP.

The case is Federal Trade Commission et al. v. Vizio Inc. et al., case number 2:17-cv-00758, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.