VIZIO collected viewing data through 11 million of its consumer TVs and linked it to demographic information.
VIZIO collected viewing data through 11 million of its consumer TVs and linked it to demographic information.

SmartTV maker VIZIO charged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New Jersey Attorney General with collecting viewing data from 11 million of its consumer TVs without permission will pony up $2.2 million as part of a settlement, the FTC said in a release.

The company must also prominently disclose its policies for collecting and sharing data and obtain express consent from customers. The stipulated federal order also precludes VIZIO from misrepresenting privacy, security or confidentiality about the data and to delete any data obtained before March 1, 2016.

The company must create a data privacy program that is both comprehensive and includes biennial assessments.

According to the original complaint, VIZIO and one of its affiliated started manufacturing smart TV that included software that captured second-by-second information on viewing usage and linked it with demographic data such as sex, age, household size and income as well as home ownership and marital status. The $2.2 million payment will be divvied between the FTC ($1.5 million) and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs ($1 million with $300,000 suspended).