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Vizio Settles With FTC, Will Pay $2.2 Million and Delete User Data (venturebeat.com) 44

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced that smart TV maker Vizio has agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a case involving the TVs' data collection techniques. From a report on VentureBeat: Vizio allegedly collected data on what people viewed on 11 million of its TVs and then shared the data with third parties, without informing people about the data collection or receiving consent. As part of the settlement with the FTC and the New Jersey Attorney General, Vizio must also delete data that it collected prior to March 1, 2016, and implement a data privacy program that is to be evaluated twice a year, according to a statement. The commission voted 3-0 in favor of the ruling, according to the statement.
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Vizio Settles With FTC, Will Pay $2.2 Million and Delete User Data

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  • profit (Score:5, Informative)

    by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @02:41PM (#53813311)

    And how much did they profit from selling that data?

    • And how much did they profit from selling that data?

      Also, what about the person that ordered this to be done? What about the person that followed that order? "My boss told me to do it" is not a legitimate defense. What about the companies that bought the data? They should also suffer some consequences.

      Part of that $2.2 million should go to a whistleblower fund, to reward people that report this sort of behavior in other companies.

      • And how much did they profit from selling that data?

        Also, what about the person that ordered this to be done? What about the person that followed that order? "My boss told me to do it" is not a legitimate defense. What about the companies that bought the data? They should also suffer some consequences.

        Part of that $2.2 million should go to a whistleblower fund, to reward people that report this sort of behavior in other companies.

        Exactly.

      • Re:profit (Score:4, Interesting)

        by KingMotley ( 944240 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @04:18PM (#53814017) Journal

        "My boss told me to do it" is not a legitimate defense.

        What? As a programmer, you expect *ME* to consult a lawyer for everything I'm told to do, and then follow up with the manufacturing to make sure they actually deliver whatever privacy notice may be required? Lol.

        • What? As a programmer, you expect *ME* to consult a lawyer for everything I'm told to do

          1. If you are told to do something that you KNOW is illegal, or something that you SHOULD KNOW is illegal, then you should be liable for the consequences. "Following orders" is not a legitimate defense.
          2. You do not need to "consult a lawyer" to know what is legal and illegal. If you are told to do something shady, a Google search of a few relevant terms will bring up enough information for you to tell your boss, IN WRITING, that his request may be illegal.

          • 2. You do not need to "consult a lawyer" to know what is legal and illegal.

            Really? You have every law ever written memorized and every prescident ever ruled on? And you did this without 4 years in law school and 10 more years researching? That is impressive. More likely you are just extremely naive.

            How and what you do is more often than not legal or illegal depending on how it is applied and where. No way in hell could any programmer writing code ever do anything productive if we had to research the ramifications of every change we are told to make and try to apply it to every

            • Really? You have every law ever written memorized and every prescident ever ruled on?

              No. But I know what "Google" is, and I know how to type. I also have enough common sense to know the sort of things that may be illegal, and I should take 30 seconds or so to check. If you are a programmer, and you work with customer data, you should have a basic idea of what you cannot legally do with that data.

      • What about the person that followed that order? "My boss told me to do it" is not a legitimate defense.

        Well, I think it depends on how it was done. It doesn't sound like the data collected was illegal per se, just the fact that it was done with no proper EULA notification/etc. The programmer shouldn't be responsible for implementing the necessary legal notifications for every new feature, at least in my opinion...for a company with two programmers, sure, they're at fault, but for one with many programmers and many departments, it's a different story.

  • Define "delete" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thomn8r ( 635504 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @02:43PM (#53813317)
    If you think they are really going to "delete" the data, I have a bridge to sell you... It's been sold/rented/spindled/mutilated several times by now...
  • by nwf ( 25607 )

    I was in the market for a TV last year and this sort of stuff is why I ruled out Vizio immediately. Everyone wants to compete on price so they have to make it up somewhere else. Pretty sure we'll soon be paying a subscription for the content AND the TV you watch it on. Well, some people will, not me. I'm watching less and less on TV each year.

    • by geek ( 5680 )

      I was in the market for a TV last year and this sort of stuff is why I ruled out Vizio immediately. Everyone wants to compete on price so they have to make it up somewhere else. Pretty sure we'll soon be paying a subscription for the content AND the TV you watch it on. Well, some people will, not me. I'm watching less and less on TV each year.

      I recently bought a Samsung. I would have gone the cheaper Vizio route but this issue held me off. Samsung isn't necessarily better but at least they tell you ahead of time in the terms and you can simply not connect it to the internet if you so wish. Vizio was deceptive and unrepentant about it. That lost them a sale from me.

      That said, I do like the online features of my Samsung but I can see this getting very heavy handed in the future where it simply wont work without an internet connection.

      • by nwf ( 25607 )

        I recently bought a Samsung. I would have gone the cheaper Vizio route but this issue held me off. Samsung isn't necessarily better but at least they tell you ahead of time in the terms and you can simply not connect it to the internet if you so wish. Vizio was deceptive and unrepentant about it. That lost them a sale from me.

        And indeed, that's what I purchased. I didn't realize until later that viewing most Samsung's off-axis results in a terrible picture. I'm not happy about that, but it's too late now. And their upscaling of non-1080p content is significantly worse than my 10 year old Sony, which is frustrating. But it's not a Vizio, so that's a plus.

        I haven't set up any of their "smart" stuff since it's mostly useless as far as I can tell. I have enough devices that can play Netflix and Amazon video connected already, I real

    • Now Vizio will be able to tell that I'm a rabid Star Trek fan. Also, Farscape, Firefly and Lexx.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't every company do this?

    • Doesn't every company do this?

      No. I am sure some do, but that is illegal. Others give notice, or even ask for consent. Others sell anonymized data. Others, such as Google, do not sell personal data, but instead do the advertising directly on behalf of their clients. That is legal.

  • The vast majority of people will sign away anything just to make a page of legalese disappear.

    • Which in a sane world would not constitute a meeting of the minds, and would be ruled an invalid contract.
  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Monday February 06, 2017 @03:29PM (#53813651)
    But if you ask permission... buried in subparagraph 52a, section c page 382, of an on screen EULA with an easy accept (whether you read it or not) button, all is somehow okay.

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