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TV maker unlawfully tracked viewing habits and sold the info

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TV maker unlawfully tracked viewing habits and sold the info



TV maker Vizio has agreed to pay out $2.2m (£1.8m) 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. The data was sold to third parties, the FTC said.
The FTC said the data collection began in February 2014 and affected around 11 million televisions. "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."
It added: "This settlement stops Vizio’s unauthorised tracking, and makes clear that smart TV makers should get people’s consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information.”
As part of the settlement Vizio agreed to more prominently tell its customers how data is stored and collected, and to seek firmer, clearer consent beforehand. The company has been ordered to delete the data it collected.
Smart TVs - sets that have additional features such as on-demand viewing or video calling - have raised privacy concerns before. In 2015 it, emerged Samsung’s models were transmitting potentially sensitive voice data without users’ knowledge.
How to make sure your Vizio smart TV is not spying on you
While you could disconnect your TV from the Internet to prevent this, it is not the best solution. Cutting the Internet would mean you will not be able to use built-in apps like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video. The better option is to just turn tracking off and still enjoy your TV's smart features.
Which models are affected?
For models sold before 2011, designated VIA (for Vizio Internet Apps), the company says tracking has been disabled already -- so no action is needed. But just to make sure, we've included instructions for those older TVs below as well.
For TVs sold between 2011 and 2016, you will have to do it manually. And for TVs sold in 2016 as SmartCast displays, the tracking is not enabled.
Disable tracking on older VIA TVs (up to 2011)
As mentioned, Vizio already disabled tracking on TVs from 2011 and earlier, but you can do this just to make sure. Press the Menu button on the remote, open Settings, highlight Smart Interactivity and switch it to off.
Disable tracking on newer VIA Plus TVs (2011-2016)
To disable the Smart Interactivity feature on the models with the VIA Plus interface, press the Menu button on the remote to open Settings, select System, followed by Reset and Admin. Then scroll down to Smart Interactivity and switch it to off.
You can now enjoy using your TV without having to worry about Big Brother watching over you. BBC


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Problem is, this software controlling all this, not hardware; like a physical switch to turn it off. In paranoia land, it could be turned back on remotely without your knowledge even though the software still says it's off. Of course according to the FBI, CIA, and NSA, that type of thing could never happen where a camera records without the light being on. Funny how there's been a lot of tape sold lately.


At this point, I want nothing that has IoT connected to it. All these makers of products were good about putting in spy apps but not so good about being concerned with security. In a proof of concept, some hackers used a drone to fly within a 100 foot of an IoTs controlled light set up in a home and were able to turn them into bot nets. There's no set up to turn it off, to upgrade the BIOS, nor to change the programming. It will remain part of a botnet til replaced.


Even worse than all this, is now ransomeware is able to infect your smart tv. I can't for the life of me figure out why I would want a smart tv, given all this.

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Do you guys have a version of GoggleBox over there.?.


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