TV maker illegally tracked and sold viewing data

The TV maker Vizio will pay $2.2 million to settle claims that it collected data from 11 million people without asking them. The lawsuit against Vizio was filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the USA. The FTC said Vizio gathered and sold data on customers without their permission for years. Vizio began making televisions in 2014 that tracked what people were watching. They used software updates to fit tracking devices to TVs made before 2014. The FTC said: "Consumers didn’t know that while they were watching their TVs, Vizio was watching them."

The FTC said Vizio captured information non-stop about what people were watching and their IP addresses. This was a breach of privacy and security. The FTC said: "The data generated when you watch television can reveal a lot about you and your household." Vizio sold information about people's age, sex, household size and income, marital status, home ownership, and education, but not people's names. Vizio lawyer Jerry Huang said: "Today, the FTC has made it clear that all smart-TV makers should get people's consent before collecting and sharing television viewing information."