Your smart TV may be spying on you: Here’s how to stop it!

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Your smart TV may be spying on you: Here’s how to stop it!
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If you have a Vizio smart TV, your viewing history may have been collected without your knowledge!  

The company has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.

Read more: Clark’s take: Here’s why I canceled DirecTV Now

Vizio to pay up for tracking consumers without consent

Vizio was charged with installing software on its TVs to collect viewing data on 11 million consumers.

Beginning in 2014, the FTC alleges that Vizio made TVs that automatically tracked what people were watching and even installed tracking software remotely on older models.

Examples of viewing data collected:

  • Identity of your broadcast, cable or satellite television provider
  • Television programs and commercials viewed
  • Unique identifiers about your TV, including the IP address

Vizio then sold the data it gathered on consumers to advertisers and other groups, the FTC said.

Prior to the resolution with the FTC, Vizio said it began sending onscreen notifications to inform users about viewing data collection, reminding them of the choice to opt out.

To settle the case, Vizio has agreed to do the following:

  • Stop unauthorized tracking.
  • Prominently disclose its TV viewing collection practices.
  • Get consumers’ express consent before collecting and sharing viewing information.
  • Delete data collected before March 2016. 
  • Put a privacy program in place that evaluates Vizio’s practices.

How to opt out of tracking 

To make sure that your Vizio smart TV isn’t spying on you, you’ll need to go to your settings and turn off “Smart Interactivity.” Here are the instructions from Vizio’s website:

Your smart TV may be spying on you: Here's how to stop it!

For non-Vizio TV sets, which may also be spying on you, check your menu settings to turn off the tracking feature.

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Mike Timmermann About the author: Mike Timmermann
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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