Your TV Could Be Tracking You

Posted at 4:07 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 17:07:23-05

A television manufacturer has been tracking its users by keeping tabs on what its customers are watching. 

And now, it's gotten in trouble for that. Yes, it's just as creepy as it sounds. Vizio has been selling smart tvs for the last three years and now comes word that the company has been using special software in these TVs to not only track what its customers are watching, but they've also been collecting all sorts of personal information about them. And customers had no idea.

The Federal Trade Commission has just announced that Vizio has agreed to settle charges that it violated the law by using something called automated content recognition software in more than 11-million of its internet connected TVs. 

The company monitored not only what people were watching, but how they they were watching it, whether it was on cable, a streaming device, or a DVD player.

And Vizio also collected IP addresses and then figured out personal information about the people who were watching, like their sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level and whether they owned their own home and how much it was worth.

According to the FTC, Vizio then turned around and sold that information to other companies, some of whom used it to target their advertising. The problem was Vizio did all of this without their customers' knowledge or permission.

The company now has agreed to pay more than $2-million dollars in fines.  It's also agreed to delete most of the data it's already collected.

And moving forward, the company has to get permission from customers first before it collects and shares information like this.