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Vizio smart tvs giving advertisers your viewing data, IP address?

Vizio smart tvs are different than their competitors – here’s how they may be selling you out, putting your privacy at risk.

vizio smart tvs

vizio smart tvs

Are you watching TV, or is your TV watching you?

If you are one of the 10 million owners of Vizio Smart TV, your television may be collecting – and selling – information about you and your viewing habits to advertisers.

Vizio calls its data-sharing program “Smart Interactivity.” It’s a feature that tracks what you are watching and when, and whether or not you are watching live or pre-recorded programs. This data is then sold to advertisers, so that, according to Vizio, companies can make “better-informed decisions regarding content production, programming and advertising.”

Vizio opts you in, others opt you out

Smart Interactivity is activated by default when you install your Vizio TV. If you don’t want to participate, you have to opt out. Other TV companies, such as LG Electronics and Samsung, collect such data, but only if you give them permission.

Vizio takes it a step further by tracking your IP address. For those who don’t know, your IP address is a unique code that pinpoints the precise location of your device within a network.

Vizio may not mask your IP address – why this violates you

When Vizio sells data to advertisers, it shows your IP address along with information about your viewing habits. This allows advertisers to locate other devices in the same IP address.

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In other words, Vizio sells your data to advertisers, then allows them to access you through any connected device in your home, be it your computer, tablet, or cell phone.

Most companies, including internet service providers and other TV companies, encrypt IP addresses so that any data they collect cannot be associated with your household. In fact, laws like the Video Privacy Protection Act prevent cable TV and video rental companies from selling any information about your viewing habits whatsoever.

Vizio doesn’t think these laws apply to them

For whatever reason, Vizio thinks these laws don’t apply to them. So far, they haven’t generated significant revenue from the sale of viewing data, but they are collaborating with data brokers like Neustar to offer well-rounded data packages to advertisers.

If Vizio’s shoddy privacy policy gives you the heebie-jeebies, I’d suggest checking out the Smart Interactivity page on their website, which explains how turn the feature off.


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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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  1. Pingback: Most smart TVs secretly watch you; Vizio just got busted for it - The American Genius

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