So, breaking digital privacy news – Your SmartTV has been spying on you without consent for two years and they just got in trouble for it today. It’s a hefty fine by the FTC ($2.2 million) for Vizio, a lead manufacturer of televisions based here in Irvine. Over 11 million TVs were being tracked by default instead of having an opt-in feature. This is more common than you’d think, agreeing to be tracked is often hidden from you, buried deep in settings or a software update, will auto-agree to give your consent.
Digital privacy Breach
This was no innocent accident either. Every moment of every show you watch got recorded. This info was then paired with IP addresses, wifi networks and metadata and matched to households to identify personal details, bundled and sold to advertisers. In this case, Vizio made money off of your private information as the product. Vizio didn’t identify users by name to the advertisers they were selling to, but it’s still a huge breach of your digital privacy.
Smart TV’s: A Cyber Security Danger
Camera Access. Many SmartTV’s have a cameras that can be set to record you. That’s not what this fine was about, but it can happen. That’s why safertech created CreepBlockers. We have them on our SmartTV cameras, our Xboxes and of course all of webcams and cell phones. Get them HERE!
And Here’s How to make sure your Vizio TV is NOT recording what your watching. Opt Out:
Go to Menu →
Reset & Admin.
Turn off “Smart Interactivity”
Make sure “Viewing Data” inside “Smart Interactivity” is turned off, too, if it appears.
The Bright Side
There’s a silver lining though. Vizio promised to make their tracking aspirations much more prominently featured and apparent, and be opt-out by default. Hopefully, this sets a warning and precedent for other manufacturers to stop being so sneaky and creepy!
Now SmartTVs allow you opt out of tracking, most streaming devices do not – so make smart purchases and be an informed consumer. Our next post will rate streaming devices for privacy!