Great news for those who love being spied on! Oh, but, bad news for those fearful of having their privacy compromised. Vizio has been unabashedly sharing its users' data to advertisers, like the old man Jenkins giving out poison candy on Halloween -- ruining it for the rest of us.
How, you ask? It's a feature called “Smart Interactivity” that comes automatically connected to the 10 million Vizio Smart TVs on the market.
It's a feature that analyzes the viewing habits of viewers including content, time, and channel. "Non-personal identifiable information may be shared with select partners 2026 to permit these companies to make, for example, better-informed decisions regarding content production, programming and advertising," Vizio reportedly said in a statement. The problem is, all of this information is linked to the user's IP address which, as HuffPo puts it, "can be used to identify every device in a home, from your TV to a phone... age, profession and wealth indicators."
While most broadcast companies are banned from selling this kind of information through the Video Privacy Protection Act, Vizio has gone on record saying these laws simply don't apply to the company... for some reason.
Information sharing isn't new to Vizio’s competitors, Samsung and LG, who freely admit their devices are more than capable of "Smart Interactivity.” However, with Vizio, the option comes pre-loaded in the TV, meaning you have to intentionally turn it off.
CBS Sacramento goes on to reference an October filing with Vizio said that "its new tracking tactics will increase profit margins in the business and will be able to provide 'highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy.'" Big Brother is watching and totally making fun of you for all those hours of Quantum Leap.
Time to whip out the tinfoil hats.
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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and knew his microwave was spying on him.