TV maker Vizio has agreed to pay out $2.2m in order to settle allegations it unlawfully collected viewing data on its customers. The US Federal Trade Commission said the company’s smart TV technology had captured data on what was being viewed on screen and transmitted it to the firm’s servers.
Following this news, Lee Munson, security researcher at Comparitech.com, comments:
“The news about Vizio collecting data about its customers’ viewing habits is significant for many reasons, not least of which is the awareness it has created around the topic of snooping smart devices in the home.
“While customers of Vizio, and possibly many other manufacturers of connected devices, would do well to assume that the gadgets in their homes are collecting information about them, they do not have to accept it.
“Depending upon jurisdiction, privacy laws may well outlaw the practice, or control what can be done with that data.
“Even if that is not the case, many smart devices offer customers the ability to turn off the in-built tracking services, albeit those options may be buried in places where they are unlikely to be found with ease.
“Customers also have the option to research products before they buy and this is another reminder that privacy policies are there to be read, however long they may be!
“Only the fully informed will truly understand that such practices are likely to continue in this day and age, in which personal information is the most lucrative currency bar none, whether its collected with consent or stolen from a third party’s site during a data breach.”