Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.
VIZIO will share Viewing Data, together with the IP address associated with the corresponding VIZIO television, with limited third parties with whom we have specifically partnered. These third parties may combine this information with other information about devices associated with that IP address, in order to customize the advertisements displayed on those other devices.
Part of the issue here is expectations of privacy. We’ve had televisions around for decades, during which time tracking hasn’t been an issue, first because of technology then because of laws that were setup consistent with privacy expectations. From ProPublica’s “Own a Vizio Smart TV? It’s Watching You”:
Cable TV companies and video rental companies are prohibited by law from selling information about the viewing habits of their customers. However, Vizio says that those laws – the Video Privacy Protection Act and cable subscriber protections – don’t apply to its business.
Time to decide if we still expect a level of privacy from our “smart” televisions.