A top smart TV manufacturer will pay state and federal authorities $2.5 million to settle claims it illegally tracked and sold data on customer’s viewing habits without their consent, reports IT News.
Vizio, which was acquired by Chinese electronics maker LeEco last year, has agreed to pay the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New Jersey Divsion of Consumer Affairs a total of US$2.5 million (A$3.27 million) for the privacy violation, US$300,000 of which was suspended.
Authorities claim that the company sold televisions loaded with software that, by default, collected sensitive user data to be sold to third parties looking to use it for advertising and other purposes.
They say the company violated state and federal law by failing to inform customers about what kind of tracking it was doing, not adequately explaining how to turn it off and by advertising perks for keeping the tracking software enabled that it never delivered.
According to a copy of the complaint, the software collected information from a variety of devices hooked up to the televisions, including cable boxes, DVD players and external streaming devices.
It also collected other digital fingerprints such as IP addresses and information about nearby wi-fi signals.
The company agreed to destroy customer data collected prior to March 1, 2016, to “prominently disclose” its data collection practices going forward and obtain the express consent of customers before collecting their data.