The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] on Monday announced a $2.2 million settlement [stipulated order, PDF] with VIZIO [corporate website] over the alleged collection of viewer data without consent. The settlement was in response to an FTC complaint [text, PDF] seeking relief under the FTC Act [ 15 USC § 53(b) text]. VIZIO was accused of using deceptive practices, including having their televisions capture second-by-second viewing data, without viewer consent. VIZIO’s practices were alleged to be in violation of the FTC Act and New Jersey consumer protection laws. The stipulated order places a permanent injunction and awards $1.5 million to the FTC and $700,000 to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
The FTC was created to protect the American consumer and has been active in pursuing companies for illegal activities. Last month the FTC announced [press release] that Uber had come to a settlement agreement and would pay [JURIST report] $20 million over misleading recruitment information. Also in January the FTC sued Qualcomm [JURIST report], claiming that the company had monopolized a cell phone device called a semiconductor, and was imposing strict conditions on cell phone companies for the device. In March the FTC was one of the first of now companies and agencies to sue Volkswagen [JURIST report] over false advertising, which led to cheating emissions standards set by the US.