James K. Wilcox writes:
Earlier this year, Consumer Reports and others reported that TVs with embedded microphones and cameras—including those from LG, Samsung, and Vizio—were collecting and sharing user data on a fairly massive scale. Our conclusion at that time was that the automatic content recognition technology built into these smart TVs, which send out the data to third-party companies, meant that millions of smart TV owners could have inadvertently left an extensive data trail chronicling months, if not years, of their TV-watching history on the servers of companies they’ve never heard of. (If you do have a smart TV, we also published an article that tells you how to turn off the snooping featureson your smart TV.)
The new lawsuit alleges that the data Vizio collects and shares on its customers’ television viewing habits is insufficiently protected, allowing marketers to identify the customers by name. According to the complaint, this violates the Video Privacy Protection Act, a law dating to the 1980s that restricted video-rental companies from sharing information on what its customers were watching. The law has been applied in a number of cases in the digital era. The suit also alleges that consumers were misled about how their data would be used, in violation of several California statutes.
The lawsuit was already being prepared when Vizio came under intense scrutiny this week after researchers at security firm Avast discovered that the TVs themselves were vulnerable to hackers.
Read more on Consumer Reports.