FTC's Smart-TV Privacy Settlement Unlikely to See an Encore

Fenwick privacy and cybersecurity co-chair Hanley Chew talked to Law360 about the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) settlement with smart-TV maker Vizio for tracking users’ viewing habits without their consent.

Law360 reported that a New Jersey stipulated order revealed that Vizio agreed to a $2.2 million settlement with the FTC and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office over its practice of secretly gathering user data — including which programs viewers watched and how long they watched them — and selling it to third parties who used the data for targeted advertising purposes.

Chew told Law360 that while the FTC adopted broader definitions of sensitive information and consumer harm in this case, this is likely not a trend, given acting FTC chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen's reservations about the settlement.

"The Vizio case could be the beginning of a shift in the FTC's approach," Chew said. He also pointed out that while the FTC seems poised to narrow the definition of substantial injury, it will focus more on the deception prong in future cases.

The full article is available through the Law360 website​ (subscription required).