American consumer technology company Vizio recently saw itself subjected to the long arm of the judicial system, after it was discovered the company had been tracking users' activities on a second-by-second basis over the past two years. Which could be a little embarrassing for some gamers.
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Ordered to pay around $2.2 million after settling a lawsuit ordered by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey, the private company agreed to be more transparent with their nefarious tracking activity and bring clarity to their 11 million users.
How Does This Affect Me?
Vizio has been taking note of every single thing that has been happening on your picturebox, from watching DVDs and Blu-rays, to streaming a flick on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or however you access your favorite content. Why? For cold hard cash of course!
Vizio would pair your viewing data with other data on your particular demographic—like age, sex, income and household wealth—before selling their findings to the highest bidding third-party analytics and/or advertising companies who will then go on to target specific adverts at you. Clever, huh? No, creepy.
Your smart TV has been spying on you and then selling your data to third-party companies. Welcome to the 21st Century.
How Do I Stop It?
Vizio has their tracking system switched on by default, so you'll have to dive deep into the settings to turn it off, unless you've already dealt with this issue after adhering to the pop-ups that have been trying to get users' attention since the ruling.
If not, you'll have to:
- Head to Menu
- Then land in System
- Head to Reset & Admin
- Switch off Smart Interactivity
- Or go a menu further and switch off Viewing Data
All should be right as rain after switching those options off.
Vizio Aren't Alone
Not in any shape or form, because, as The Verge helpfully pointed out, some top consumer electronics brands also have crafty ways of tracking your activity. Here's how to stop your Samsung, LG and Sony TV from being a bunch of Bagginses.
How To Stop Sony TVs From Tracking Your Viewing Habits
Head into your TV's Help menu, hit Privacy Settings and nip that spy in the bud. Only downside is some of your TV's recommendation settings may be disabled along with the snitch.
How To Stop Samsung TVs From Tracking Your Viewing Habits
You're going to be looking for something called SyncPlus, which lives in your TV's Terms & Policy section in the settings. Turn that off and you're good to enjoy TV with relative anonymity.
How To Stop LG TVs From Tracking Your Viewing Habits
According to The Verge, it's possible LG's newer web-OS based TVs may not have tracking options on by default, but if they do—or you own an older LG TV—head to settings, then SmartTV and turn off LivePlus.
In the meantime, if you're one of the many not to own a TV from the big three, have a look at your device's privacy settings and see if there's any info on activity tracking. Get that turned off pronto, 'cause it's hard enough outside. Now we have to come home to an Orwellian dystopia? Nah, I'm good thanks, bruh. Now where did I leave my old CRT?
[Sources: The Verge, Wirecutter]