Your Vizio TV might soon tell you if it’s been spying on you

Your Vizio TV might soon tell you if it's been spying on you
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The old saying “if these walls could talk” has seldom been as appropriate as it is now concerning one of the most popular TVs on the market. In the coming weeks, it’s possible that your Vizio smart TV might tell you whether it’s been spying on you.

The notification is the culmination of years of wrangling between Vizio and the government. The company was sued for not disclosing to customers that its internet-connected “smart” TVs were collecting information from viewers without their consent.

In late October, Vizio agreed to establish a $17 million settlement to pay people who bought their internet-connected TVs between February 2014 and February 2017.

Your Vizio TV may soon let you know if it’s been spying on you

According to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General of New Jersey, Vizio smart TVs produced since 2014 were able to capture “second-by-second information about video displayed” on the devices. The company didn’t tell consumers that the enabled settings also allowed Vizio and an affiliated company to collect viewing data.

In February 2017, Vizio agreed to pay $2.2 million and to get consent from consumers before collecting their information. The thing is, according to court documents, a judge ruled that the company wouldn’t be able to get off so easily and had to face claims of violating the Wiretap Act among other infractions.

According to a press release heralding the settlement, “The Court will also decide whether to send a notice through the Smart TVs and via e-mail that will alert affected customers about the settlement and the timing and process to file a claim for payment. No deadlines to participate in the proposed settlement have been set yet.”

Vizio potential class action settlement: Here’s what’s next

Lawyers to finalize terms: Attorneys at the California law offices of Girard Gibbs are leading the Vizio class action case. A hearing is set to commence on Dec. 7, wherein the proposed settlement is expected to be approved by the court.

Watch your Vizio smart TV for a notification: As the Hollywood Reporter first reported, “The Parties are developing a class notice program with direct notification to the class through VIZIO Smart TV displays, which requires testing to make sure any TV notice can be properly displayed and functions as intended. The additional time requested will allow the parties to confirm that the notice program proposed in the motion for preliminary approval is workable and satisfies applicable legal standards.”

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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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