(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Tim Cushing


Filed Under:
privacy, smart tvs

Companies:
vizio



Vizio Latest Manufacturer To Offer More Ways For TVs To Watch Purchasers

from the buy-our-things-so-we-can-sell-your-data! dept

Vizio is the latest consumer electronics manufacturer to announce -- publicly, but not, like, PR-onslaught publicly -- that its TVs will be watching purchasers as much as purchasers are watching them. The details of its strategy to generate the most ROI from each and every purchaser willing to blow past the fine print during setup are contained in the company's SEC filing for its debut as a public company. Engadget's Richard Lawler has the details. (h/t to Techdirt reader MarcAnthony)

According to the filing, Vizio has sold more than 15 million smart TVs, with about 61 percent of them connected as of the end of June. While viewers are benefiting from those connections, streaming over 3 billion hours of content, Vizio says it's watching them too, with Inscape software embedded in the screens that can track anything you're playing on it -- even if it's from cable TV, videogame systems and streaming devices.
Here's the potential shareholder-friendly description included in the S-1 filing:
Our Inscape data services capture, in real time, up to 100 billion anonymized viewing data points each day from our over 8 million VCUs. Inscape collects, aggregates and stores data regarding most content displayed on VCU television screens, including content from cable and satellite providers, streaming devices and gaming consoles. Inscape provides highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy, which can be used to generate intelligent insights for advertisers and media content providers and to drive their delivery of more relevant, personalized content through our VCUs.
And here's the grand plan, which is a slice of a multi-billion dollar data sales market:
We believe our business focus enables a self-reinforcing consumer use and engagement model that we expect to fuel our growth while driving revenue. Our connected entertainment products and discovery and engagement software increase usage of our platform, enabling Inscape to gather more anonymized data on viewing behaviors, which we can deliver to advertisers and media content providers. These companies in turn can deliver more relevant and personalized content for viewers, further enhancing the entertainment experience. We believe this self-reinforcing cycle will increase our brand awareness and enhance demand for our connected entertainment products.
What's curious about the wording isn't the gung ho appropriation of viewer data to sell to advertisers. What's curious is Vizio's claim that "anonymized data" will result in "more relevant and personalized content" for purchasers. There may be a certain level of anonymity involved, but Vizio still needs to provide enough defining demographic data to make this information worth purchasing. There is some value in general data like number of viewers of specific content at certain times, but Nielsen has done this sort of thing for years and it's a huge stretch to call anything about TV advertising "personal" or "relevant." So, there's something a bit off about the anonymization claims Vizio is making here.

The other issue is that while Vizio is being upfront with regulators about this aspect of its TV offerings, it's not being similarly explicit with purchasers. It is truly the rarest of customers that seeks out a television for its ability to offer "personalized content" in exchange for the sale of his or her viewing data to marketers.

Will users know Vizio is selling their viewing data, including that generated by third-party devices connected to a Vizio smart TV? Probably not. While Lawler noted on Twitter than the SEC filing contains 102 mentions of Inscape, the term fails to surface in searches of Vizio's website. There's also nothing referencing the service in its Privacy Policy.It's not as though this is a feature (which many purchasers would find closer to a bug) still in development. Vizio's own filing indicates this is already in use. While it may be proudly trumpeting its built-in spyware to potential shareholders, it seems a bit more reluctant to inform potential purchasers about the company's thirst for sellable data.

Far too many electronic device manufacturers are unwilling to honestly discuss this part of the business with paying customers, preferring pages and pages of legalese to do the talking for them -- a tactic that allows for both ass-coverage and obfuscation. Vizio does better than some by providing instructions on how to disable this on-by-default "interactivity" early on in its Privacy Policy, but that doesn't necessarily excuse yet another manufacturer that views paying customers as ongoing revenue streams long after they've collected the purchase price for the device. In today's electronics market, it's not enough to simply be a paying customer. You must also be the product as well.


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  • identicon
    JustShutUpAndObey, 29 Jul 2015 @ 11:56am

    Didn't Vizio previously claim that this feature wasn't enabled and that they had no plans to enable it?

    I guess plans can change, huh?

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  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:16pm

    Wouldn't be so bad if they gave you the TV

    and you agreed to be "sold". But a TV purchaser (you know someone who gave them money for the TV) is now going to be analyzed and have more ads forced on them. NOT COOL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Wouldn't be so bad if they gave you the TV

      Sounds like the same racket the cable companies have been pulling for decades. Advertising originated as a way to pay for broadcast TV, because it was broadcast for free and the viewers weren't paying for it.

      Then along came a model where viewers did pay for it... but did the ads go away? We should be so lucky!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:16am

      Re: Wouldn't be so bad if they gave you the TV

      But a TV purchaser ...

      ... thinks they're purchasing a TV, whereas the seller knows they're merely selling a limited licence to use the seller's data aggregation portal.

      Somebody sue 'em for bait and switch or truth in advertising lies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:16pm

    Whatever you think of RMS as a person, he was and is right when he says if you do not control your devices they control you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:25pm

    I don't want any ads from anyone

    That's why I pay for Netflix.

    That's why I pay for Prime.

    That's why I DO NOT pay for Hulu.

    There is also an amazing amount of useful things to watch on . . . YouTube. Lectures. Tutorials. News Vlogs on specific subjects. Etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      g44DWE4dj, 29 Jul 2015 @ 1:54pm

      Re: I don't want any ads from anyone

      This is why I P2P and run my own media server.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:29am

      Re: I don't want any ads from anyone

      This is why I rediscovered public libraries. Technical manuals and non-fiction, I want to own outright. Entertainment, I want to borrow for a limited time, then recycle.

      It's also quite amazing how many people think this way. I know about three groups in my small town who give away used books, video cassettes, CDs and DVDs to all comers. If you still own a VC player, you can do very well for no cost whatever. People who've abandoned VC players give the cassettes away just to get rid of them.

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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:30pm

    In Amerika, TV watch you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Designerfx (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:33pm

    anonymized and personalized?

    So what they're admitting here, is that they're stating it's anonymized, but acknowledging it's personalized (and not anonymous?) and thus as far from anonymized as possible?

    Whoops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 11:40am

      Re: anonymized and personalized?

      ... they're stating it's anonymized, but acknowledging it's personalized ...

      Well, there's personalized, and then there's personalized. An advertiser doesn't need to know your name or DOB to flog their product at you, but they do want to flog their product to only those people who're conceivably wanting to purchase said product and can pay for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:35pm

    Bogus Instructions

    Vizio does better than some by providing instructions on how to disable this on-by-default "interactivity"...

    Unfortunately, the instructions they give don't work on my TV because the option isn't where they say it is. I found it buried elsewhere in the menus, but many people won't be able to find it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:38pm

    Rule of thumb

    Before thinking that functionality is something that your customers would actually want, ask yourself "is it a good idea to put copy on packaging and advertising that tells customers about this wonderful feature?"

    If the answer is "no", then the feature is a hostile act against your customers.

    (Of course, Vizio knows full well this is a hostile act. They're just lying to their shareholders about it.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Miles Barnett (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:48pm

    I Won a Vizio TV

    I won one of their "smart" TV's in a drawing. When I turned it on, the first thing that came up was a license agreement for me to click "agree". I'll be damned if I agree to a license just to watch TV. I never hooked up Wifi or ethernet. Besides, my setup is way more sophisticated that their TVs ever will be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 7:21pm

      Re: I Won a Vizio TV

      I never hooked up Wifi or ethernet.

      Sadly, doesn't matter.

      Vizio SmartTVs come with a built in Wifi Access Point, DIRECT-PO-VIZIOTV, which uses some sort of bastardized WPA encryption scheme, and includes WPS (though I have yet to be able to crack it.) This AP seems to be related to the Vizio TV's wireless remote control which can be disabled, but the AP in the TV cannot and according to Vizio, other devices can also be attached to the AP though I couldn't get them to elaborate on what could.

      Thus, anyone driving by your house knows you have a Vizio TV, and if they know how to connect to it, they can likely download the data stored on the TV (either directly or via some sort of vulnerability.) After talking with Vizio about this, they told me there was no way to turn off the AP, and that I really should plug it into the network in order to get periodic updates they release to fix security issues with the TV (that shouldn't exist if I could properly disable everything I didn't need or want.)

      A little more difficult than getting it directly, but if Google can pay folks to map the networks in your area, Vizio could pay someone to periodically drive around and access people's TVs remotely.

      Damn, you guys found me wearing my tin foil again!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TasMot (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 12:48pm

    It's Time for us Peaons to talk to our Gov'm'nt Representives

    Let's pass a real consumer protection law that requires manufacturers to put on very large print that a product they sell include a "watch you" feature that may include a "phone home" and talk about you feature.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:12pm

      Re: It's Time for us Peaons to talk to our Gov'm'nt Representives

      This has to stop.

      Imagine if every consumer product were spying on how you use it?

      And I mean the IoT. (Intarwebtubes of Things)

      Your LED bulbs. Your toaster. Your refrigerator. Your TV. Your DVD player. Your car.

      Imagine someone *cough* NSA *cough* being able to gather that data from all the various product manufacturers and then build up a highly detailed profile of every person's life. Just how much could they learn? When you move from room to room in your house. What entertainment you watch. What music you listen to. When, where, and how fast you drive.

      The privacy violation is vastly unimaginable.

      But it slowly creeps in. One appliance, one device at a time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 5:20am

      Re: It's Time for us Peaons to talk to our Gov'm'nt Representives

      "Let's pass a real consumer protection law..."
      No problem. You just have to outbid Google et al in the government auction. Freedom isn't free.

      Seriously.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 12:55pm

      Re: It's Time for us Peaons to talk to our Gov'm'nt Representives

      ... a product they sell include a "watch you" feature that may include a "phone home" and talk about you feature.

      ... and is intent on selling anything they can glean from their relationship with you to all and sundry shady "partners" of theirs. Twenty years ago, that sort of thing wouldn't make it past infancy. Now, it's a core function. Who needs North Korean or Chinese "hackers" when Madison Ave. & Silicon Valley is rolling this out to valued customers who're paying to be boned by them?

      With all the tinfoil hat complaining about Google selling anonymized data to advertisers, they're pikers compared to these guys.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 1:16pm

    problem is they market the features of their tvs; once you turn it on you then are greeted with a terms and conditions agreement to hand them full approval to track and sell you data.

    you decline the agreement, to be a product, and you lose those wonderful features they marketed to you. Put in that light, most people are going to agree to whatever so they can get the tv features they paid for already.

    If these companies want to sell my info, they need to share the profits with me; otherwise step the hell back.

    ----

    flip side is, this does create innovation. as water finds it's way around a rock in the stream, so to will developers find ways around this.

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    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      > so to will developers find ways around this.

      Not if it is made illegal. Maybe with jail time.

      Once it is illegal only the 'developers' who are hackers and/or employed by scammers will do this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:00pm

      Re:

      If these companies want to sell my info, they need to share the profits with me ...

      They can always spin it as helping to lower the purchase price.
      ... so too will developers find ways around this.

      Such as, either build a Faraday cage for your TV, or have it built into the walls of your house.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:08pm

    As the saying goes:

    'You have to be pretty stupid to want a smart TV'.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:15pm

      Re:

      Soon televisions will be smarter than the people who watch them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:26pm

      Re:

      I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised at how aggressively TV manufacturers are working to make their products as objectionable as possible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:10pm

        Re: Re:

        I have to admit that I'm a bit surprised at how aggressively TV manufacturers are working to make their products as objectionable as possible.

        It's the way of the world this century, not just TV mfgrs. Cf. Keurig.

        I wonder if we can blame it on reality TV. Once they learned how stupid the average prole is, they knew they could get away with damned near anything no matter how foolish the idea is in the long run. The other side of this is, if you believe in the pendulum theory of history, we should have full blown anarcho-capitalism within ten years. Murray Rothbard station next stop.

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  • identicon
    pixelation, 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:33pm

    I have to wonder, if the camera is on when someone's nude kids are around could Vizio be guilty of child porn?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 10:10pm

      Re:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 10:10pm

      Re:

      What camera? Did you even read the story?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:37am

        Re: Re:

        Any "smart" TV capable of running Skype is going to have a camera embedded in it, whether or not Skype is actually installed. Additionally, one way or another, your device is going to have a microphone installed if it accepts voice commands, or is slated to do so in the future (today's surface mount microphone chips are as small as a pin-head and can ride piggy-back on other unrelated chips - in other words, this type of surveillance platform is dirt cheap, and as easy to hide as it is to implement).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I've seen mention that these things can tell how many people are in the room. Whether that means a camera or just a smart sensor, I don't know.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 2:49pm

    When I use software and controls on a PC that creates a data set that can be a visual picture, that data set/picture is in most cases automatically copyrighted by me. If I were to use the software and controls on a 'smart/spy' TV that results in a unique data set, is that data set copyrightable? If so, should I not be the copyright holder? Visio and other spy ware TV makers might be committing millions of copyright violations by stealing and profiting by using these copyrighted data sets without the express written permission of the TV owner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 4:45pm

      Re:

      Either way, they would contract around the situation to provide legal coverage in case you wanted to challenge their gathering your everything.

      In this case I think make sure to include language in the EULA (if they don't already) that by opening the product, you're agreeing to license them something like a non-exclusive right to use/distribute/datamine what you're creating/publishing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zonker, 29 Jul 2015 @ 3:45pm

    Maybe Vizio should feature the Hall and Oates song "Private Eyes" in their next commercial, or maybe as the startup sound for their new TVs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Hans, 29 Jul 2015 @ 5:05pm

    Vote with you wallet and let them know how you feel!

    Reading the Vizio instructions on How to turn on or off Smart Interactivity, they provide the following contact information:

    techsupport@vizio.com
    (855) 833-3221

    I sent them the following:
    How dare you enable "Smart Interactivity" on my television without getting explicit permission from me to spy on my activity.

    Yes, I (now) know I can turn it off, but that's hardly the point, is it? And how can even trust you that it's really disabled after you so arrogantly deployed this shitty Doublespeak named feature without an explicit "opt-in". I'm fairly certain you even added it to my television in a software "update", without my permission.

    Trust and reputation are important in the consumer product business, and you have burned any that you had. I have purchased several of your televisions, but I will never do so again and I will be recommending that all my friends, neighbors, and followers do the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Hans, 29 Jul 2015 @ 6:51pm

      Re: Vote with you wallet and let them know how you feel!

      The response from Vizio:
      Thank you for your recent inquiry with VIZIO.

      I apologize we were not able to better accommodate you. VIZIO is always willing listen to its customers. We appreciate the feedback and I will be more than happy to pass this along.

      If you need any additional assistance feel free to contact VIZIO at 1-888-849-4623 or chat with us at chat.vizio.com.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim B., 29 Jul 2015 @ 5:26pm

    I find this onerous

    I find it onerous. I never gave them permission. I never will. I will not accept advertisements injected into my stream nor a company watching my viewing habits.

    I was looking at a Vizio TV and nearly bought one. I decided to hold off. The next day I saw the article describing what Vizio was doing. Vizio lost a sale.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 29 Jul 2015 @ 9:32pm

      Re: I find this onerous

      Onerous.

      You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:27pm

        Re: Re: I find this onerous

        I find it onerous. I never gave them permission.

        I do not think it means what you think it means.

        Pardon? As in, "I don't get the joke" (assuming you're joking).
        # dict onerous

        Burdensome; oppressive

        Looks correct to me.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Derek Kerton (profile), 5 Aug 2015 @ 6:54am

          Re: Re: Re: I find this onerous

          No. It looks to me like you've just looked it up now, and are trying to retroactively fit it to what you wrote.

          The definition from Google's dictionary is "involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome."

          Onerous, correctly defined, is a burden, it represents work one must do.

          Vizio put absolutely no burden on you, even though what they did sucked. It was not onerous. Your usage context does not fit a situation where Vizio is putting effort and difficulty on you, rather it indicates you meant to use a word more like "presumptuous".

          The joke is from The Princess Bride, where Vizzini repeatedly uses the word "inconceivable" for things that are not only conceivable, but also occur. Fezzik tells him "I don't think [that word] means what you think it means."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 5:41pm

    Nice knowing you vizio

    As a tech coordinator for a k12 school district, I make quite a few purchases. Looks like vizio just lost our districts money if it is going to monetize our students actions. We actually do look for service providers who are not just taking advantage of our kids.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:34pm

      Re: Nice knowing you vizio

      Looks like vizio just lost our districts money if it is going to monetize our students actions.

      I suspect you're soon going to run out of acceptable potential vendors.

      On the bright side, I see they're now selling ten packs of mechanical pencils made out of recycled materials (they look like cardboard tubes) for only $1.25, so it'll be cheap to go back to pencils & paper. You may need to teach the kids how to use them, however.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 7:46pm

    Advertising is not enhancement

    I don't think I've ever considered advertising to be an "enhancement" to my "entertainment experience".

    That's why I don't watch TV anymore and use an ad-blocker on the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 9:21pm

    Guess I'll have to unplug my TV from the internet so the Vizio pervs can't watch me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 10:25pm

    I doubt Vizio is the only manufacturer doing this, nor are TV's the only things remotely reporting your data. It's double dipping; payment from me and payment from selling data too.

    It's also a sweet back door open for abuse. How long will it take for MPAA to require that TV's be disabled if "illegal" content is being shown?

    I'd like to see the tables reversed. All my data belongs to me. If they want to compile and use it, then they have to get my agreemet and pay me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      All my data belongs to me. If they want to compile and use it, then they have to get my agreement and pay me.

      They already did. You clicked OK on the EULA that popped up when it was powered up, and their using (selling) your data helps them keep the sale price down. Sucker. :-P

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2015 @ 10:52pm

    Current Cracked photoplasty contest

    That reminds me, I think Cracked is still running their photoshop contest titled "Secrets You Pray Hackers Don't Release To The World".

    Anybody want to enter this contest with a Vizio TV logo?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Howard, 30 Jul 2015 @ 3:33am

    WhatWhatWhat

    software embedded in the screens that can track anything you're playing on it -- even if it's from cable TV, videogame systems and streaming devices.

    Holy fucking shitballs Batman!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 1:46pm

      Re: WhatWhatWhat

      ... software embedded in the screens that can track anything you're playing on it ...

      Holy fucking shitballs Batman!

      Big Brother disapproves of your foul language. You've twenty-four hours to report to a re-education center. Have a nice day citizen. Oh, by the way, Soylent Green special now on!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guardian, 30 Jul 2015 @ 3:51am

    hackity hack hack time

    ya know all this leads to it being leaked and all your pron habits getting out

    oh and screw them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 3:57am

    Advertisement has become so intrusive and annoying that I've seen quite a few people I know to actively avoid ads when they are visible. It won't take long for people to go without. My next TVs will certainly be plain old displays and nothing more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Advertisement has become so intrusive and annoying that I've seen quite a few people I know to actively avoid ads when they are visible.

      From the other end of the transaction, Slate recently informed its non-US readers that, as their advertisers don't want to pay to advertise to us, they're essentially implementing a paywall for us.

      G'bye Slate. Not a great loss for me. Not a great loss for them either. Still, pretty stupid for a "news" org, I think. We used to call this "shooting yourself in the foot."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 4:20am

    I can assure you...

    I will never knowingly buy any TV, stereo, Blu-Ray player, etc that is spying on me. It is bad enough my cable provider, internet provide, smart phone and cellphone provider are spying on me. I don't need to add to that list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 2:11pm

      Re: I can assure you...

      It is bad enough my cable provider, internet provide, smart phone and cellphone provider are spying on me. I don't need to add to that list.

      Heard of Tails Linux? Runs from a USB key tor (or i2p) enabled from boot; Ed Snowden recommended. For phones, replace stock Android with something cyanogenmod-ish. iBaubles? Accept you're trendy but boned.

      Take that, director Comey!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2015 @ 6:00am

    Sad

    It is sad that you have to bring a lawyer to buy a TV.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    RocRizzo (profile), 30 Jul 2015 @ 6:18am

    And you thought

    that Big Brother was watching. You thought that Big Brother was the government, well in the oligarchy, it's the corporations. They watch you not just for criminal activity, but so that they can sell you more useless garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephen, 30 Jul 2015 @ 6:45am

    Just Whose Data is it Anyway?

    Shouldn't Vizio be paying its purchasers to spy on them?

    After all, reality TV shows compensate their stars in assorted ways for pointing cameras and microphones at them and recording their antics. Why should Vizio be allowed to do its recording without paying the clientele anything for what amounts to a new class of reality television?

    I would also point out that there would be a lot less incentive for companies like Vizio to install spy devices in their products if they had to pay their purchasers for the privilege of spying on them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2015 @ 11:31am

    Wonder how long it'll be before there's a home version of a way to block all wireless signals except for a few exceptions that can be turned on or off by the user?

    I think what disturbs me the most is that manufacturers have put so much research and development into functions that users don't want, not too far off from "disabled by design". Clearly "capitalism" is not alive and well when the customer is always wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:46pm

      Re:

      Clearly "capitalism" is not alive and well when the customer is always wrong.

      Capitalism is alive and well (but the customer is not always right). It's just not prevalent. Would be tyrants and special interests mooching political favors that our taxes pay for tend to be prevalent these days. "We, the people" are too busy with 21st Century complexity, and our educators are not preparing us very well for dealing with any of it (they never really could). As a mostly self-taught individual, this's no surprise to me. We expected far more from public education than it was ever capable of delivering. It's a glorified baby-sitting service at best, and cradle to grave debt machine.

      When I'm elected Dark Overlord, I'll disband public education and plow the money saved into universally accessible libraries free for all to use. I don't know why we didn't do that in the first place. I suppose free baby-sitting was too hard to pass up, given all the other crap people were finding they needed to deal with.

      "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." Maybe the horse can smell the well's poisoned.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 1:16pm

    Class action?

    The Vizio terms of service are unconscionable. This alleged “agreement” is made under duress, given that their product is unmerchantable by design; according to a response (to my complaint) from Vizio’s own tech support representative, you must consent to their TOS or you can’t even use the intended functionality of the device; no reasonable consumer would buy a TV that could only be used by consenting to onerous and unfairly one-sided terms. Further, the written agreement expressly allows Vizio to modify the terms unilaterally without notification to the other party and does not provide for the ablity to rescind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 2:02pm

      Re: Class action?

      ... no reasonable consumer would buy a TV that could only be used by consenting to onerous and unfairly one-sided terms.

      Commercial software users have been doing that for more than a couple decades. "EULA"s are known for being the least read and understood contracts ever devised by man. However, SCOTUS allows it anyway.

      Linux users have been complaining about this "Microsoft Tax" for just as long, but can I now get a refund for the pre-installed Windows(TM) software on my new computer which I'll never use? Chyaa, right.

      Welcome to the 21st Century.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Todd P, 6 Mar 2016 @ 2:59pm

    Terrible Buy, Go with another brand !

    Terrible smart tv. Limited apps and almost every Tv app is a subscription paid service with NO options to install outside apps. If you want to watch Youtube or run a cable to it for tv then this is the tv for you.
    --If you want a tv to watch real FREE tv then buy something else like an Android Tv box or other brand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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