“Vizio’s technology works by analyzing snippets of the shows you’re watching,” ProPublica claims, “whether on traditional television or streaming Internet services such as Netflix. Vizio determines the date, time, channel of programs — as well as whether you watched them live or recorded.”
“The viewing patterns are then connected to your IP address – the Internet address that can be used to identify every device in a home, from your TV to a phone,” the report states. This is fairly troubling since, as the article points out, “IP addresses can increasingly be linked to individuals. Data broker Experian, for instance, offers a ‘data enrichment‘ service that provide ‘hundreds of attributes‘ such as age, profession and ‘wealth indicators’ tied to a particular IP address.”
Shorter version — the consumer is the product, the televisions they pay for are just part of the whole revenue model.
Secondly, if you plan to use people’s data, companies should at the very least encrypt customers’ IP addresses. I don’t trust most places with my data, but that goes double when sensitive bits like IP, SSN, full name, and the like are included. On a long enough timeline everybody gets hacked, and if nobody’s thought to rip off data like this before, it won’t take long for ner-do-wells to think of it.
Until then, consider either purchasing a dumb television for any places you watch anything sensitive, sharing multiple profiles across the same device to confuse the marketers, and/or turning off all data gathering settings you can find on your consumer electronics.