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Circuit Breaker

Vizio may soon inform customers when its smart TVs are spying on them

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Vizio P-Series 2016 review Chris Welch

Vizio is apparently trying to figure out a way to inform its TV owners that it spies on their viewing habits. The Hollywood Reporter first spotted and reported that the company is developing a “notice program with direct notification to the class through Vizio Smart TV displays.” The news popped up in a request to extend the time needed to submit a motion for a preliminary settlement in a class action lawsuit against the company. So basically, it’s possible that Vizio users will get a pop-up notification that explaining that they might be part of a class action settlement.

The TV company already previously settled with the Federal Trade Commission for $2.2 million in 2017, along with the agreement to get users’ consent before collecting data. The company was caught in 2015 tracking users’ viewing habits and demographic data, which it combined to then sell to analytics and ad companies, thereby allowing them to better target their messaging. The company already sends consent pop-ups, so this new notification would only slightly differ. Vizio is still tracking, but this time around, it should be giving users more information on what’s happening.

Correction 9/10 9:28 AM ET: Corrected to say that the pop-up notification will inform users that they might qualify for the class action lawsuit — not that they are being actively tracked in that moment.