California electronics maker Vizio will cough up $2.2m after its smart TVs spied on millions of people.
America’s trade watchdog, the FTC, said today the payment will settle a complaint filed by the state of New Jersey accusing Vizio of violating privacy regulations: the biz had collected the viewing habits of 11 million television sets throughout the country without warning or permission.
According to the state attorney general’s federal complaint [PDF], from February 2014 to March 2016, Vizio noted down exactly what its customers were watching and then resold all those records as summaries to third parties – which were mostly advertising companies.
The usage data was not only collected while customers were watching over-the-air or cable TV broadcasts, but also when they were watching DVDs or streaming video from websites and over-the-top services like Netflix.
Vizio harvested surveillance on people and their families so precise, it knew exactly what you were watching, second by second, and even took copies of the watched video, according to prosecutors. Additionally, we’re told, Vizio resold summaries of personal information about its customers it had gathered, including age, marital status, and household income, to advertisers without consent.
No mention of the records having to be destroyed though?