VIZIO to Pay $2.2 Million to FTC to Settle Charges It Collected Viewing Histories - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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VIZIO to Pay $2.2 Million to FTC to Settle Charges It Collected Viewing Histories

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/pres...tle-charges-it


Only a measly 2.2 million?!?!?
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 03:13 PM
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Yes, that was my thought too--- $2m- it should be $20million +++. Maybe other states will jump on this....
I was think of purchasing their P65. Having second thoughts
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 03:24 PM
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The safe assumption to make these days is that if something connects to the internet, it's collecting personal data about you. BS of Vizio to not disclose but totally unsurprising that they did it, and the penalty sure does seem light.

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post #4 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 03:51 PM
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 03:53 PM
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And the want to keep it quiet as it's a huge cash cow for them.
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post #6 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 03:56 PM
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The safe assumption to make these days is that if something connects to the internet, it's collecting personal data about you.

Always remember that!


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post #7 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 04:04 PM
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I got a Vizio,wheres my cut of the$$$!
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post #8 of 23 Old 02-06-2017, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bismarck440 View Post
Always remember that!


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I think they collect more than we may think they do. This really happened to me at Christmas time. I had never been concerned about the Vizio's privacy settings before, I don't really care who knows what I watch, but an experience over the holiday changed my mind. My family was over, so I pulled up some of our old home movies on Plex and casted them to my TV (M70-D3). The movies were from 1999 and were transferred to digital from VHS. One of them happened to show my son, who was 8 at the time, tracing Pokemon from a book he had. The NEXT DAY when I checked my email, I had an email from Amazon which said "based upon your browsing history, here is a suggestion for you" it was a book called "How to Draw Pokemon"! I had never browsed or searched for anything related to Pokemon. The only thing Pokemon related I had any connection to was my home movie from 1999. It can't just be a coincidence, right? It sounds paranoid, but I really have no other explanation other than that my new TV/Home Theater device was spying on my home movies somehow.
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post #9 of 23 Old 02-07-2017, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by sixofsvn View Post
I think they collect more than we may think they do. This really happened to me at Christmas time. I had never been concerned about the Vizio's privacy settings before, I don't really care who knows what I watch, but an experience over the holiday changed my mind. My family was over, so I pulled up some of our old home movies on Plex and casted them to my TV (M70-D3). The movies were from 1999 and were transferred to digital from VHS. One of them happened to show my son, who was 8 at the time, tracing Pokemon from a book he had. The NEXT DAY when I checked my email, I had an email from Amazon which said "based upon your browsing history, here is a suggestion for you" it was a book called "How to Draw Pokemon"! I had never browsed or searched for anything related to Pokemon. The only thing Pokemon related I had any connection to was my home movie from 1999. It can't just be a coincidence, right? It sounds paranoid, but I really have no other explanation other than that my new TV/Home Theater device was spying on my home movies somehow.
Not paranoid at all.....Creepy, isn't it? When I graduated from HS I think half of my class of just over 800 trotted off to BGSU to get a degree in marketing, this is what it evolved into.

I really despise the fact they are forcing "smart" devices upon us, I'm getting closer to having the internet pulled from my house. I still have 2 PC's that remain "offline", I no longer purchase online. I've never had cable, & only have a prepaid mobile for a couple years (@ < $90/yr) in addition to a landline.

I'm besieged with so much conflicting & confusing marketing information & choices everyday I can no longer process it. When I cant make a clear decision, I don't make a decision at all.

Communications in the US has become the biggest deceptive ripoff ever! (next to Legal Services & Healthcare).

Edit: Vizio isn't alone on this, my Parents had purchased a Vizio 4K Smart TV last year, it is strictly used OTA & so far the biggest issue is they were not provided with an Owners manual with it... as I understand now Vizio is the first company to eliminate the OTA Tuner built in.... perhaps for the best if that is where they are going to cut corners.

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post #10 of 23 Old 02-07-2017, 03:16 PM
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Cinavia Messages: Message Code 3

I had a recent encounter with Cinavia message code 3 on Deepwater Horizon DVD being played on a Samsung Smart Bluray , sometimes there is nothing like a standalone DVD over a smart Bluray.. THAT IS NOT CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET! This was a Legit Copy of the movie.

The fix... restart your Bluray player, & do not let it connect to the internet ... had to figure this one myself as the common online solution is just to pause the disk for 30 seconds, it only comes back a few minutes later.


Yes, they track everything you watch, & why!?!?
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post #11 of 23 Old 02-07-2017, 03:21 PM
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Not paranoid at all.....Creepy, isn't it? When I graduated from HS I think half of my class of just over 800 trotted off to BGSU to get a degree in marketing, this is what it evolved into.

I really despise the fact they are forcing "smart" devices upon us, I'm getting closer to having the internet pulled from my house. I still have 2 PC's that remain "offline", I no longer purchase online. I've never had cable, & only have a prepaid mobile for a couple years (@ < $90/yr) in addition to a landline.

I'm besieged with so much conflicting & confusing marketing information & choices everyday I can no longer process it. When I cant make a clear decision, I don't make a decision at all.

Communications in the US has become the biggest deceptive ripoff ever!


Edit: Vizio isn't alone on this, my Parents had purchased a Vizio 4K Smart TV last year, it is strictly used OTA & so far the biggest issue is they were not provided with an Owners manual with it... as I understand now Vizio is the first company to eliminate the OTA Tuner built in.
And yet you've posted your opinion 2300 times on a forum?
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post #12 of 23 Old 02-08-2017, 11:00 AM
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And yet you've posted your opinion 2300 times on a forum?

Most of these were questions or facts, but I get your point.

As a response to watching our sponsors ad 2300 times. I never posted pictures of what I ate for breakfast, that seems to be the "cool" thing to do.

Tut tut, on the internet, anyone can be a self proclaimed expert on any subject! (Cable Reality show bad-ass armcross).

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post #13 of 23 Old 02-08-2017, 11:43 AM
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I got a Vizio,wheres my cut of the$$$!
They should offer each owner a free movie rental. They can determine the personalized movei title based off of the data collected for each individual owner hahahahaha
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-09-2017, 07:16 AM
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Yes, that was my thought too--- $2m- it should be $20million +++. Maybe other states will jump on this....
+1 i agree , they should it have a disclaimer and an opt out option.
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post #15 of 23 Old 02-10-2017, 08:22 AM
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...moving this info over from the "Official" P-Series thread, as this thread seems to be the proper one for this info.

First off...I noticed that even with identical SmartCast App versions, the Smart Interactivity switch is still present on my Android phone, but not on the tablet.

So, I took a closer look at the network traffic coming and going from these displays.

The display is in constant communication to several IP addresses which all resolve to 1e100.net
In 40 seconds of capture, there were over 50 messages/packets coming and going to 1e100.net, most of which are encrypted, with multiple cypher updates.
Some of the unencrypted messages reference Chromecast and google-analytics and stats.g.doubleclick. net (redirect virus?!)

7
IP's resolve to MarkMonitor
1
IP resolves to Cloudflare
2
IP's resolve to Amazon

1e100.net
is MarkMonitor.com, a company whose taglines say "Great brands trust us to help them fight online counterfeiting and piracy" "MarkMonitor Protects the World's Leading Brands" Google is one of their customers.

According to Wiki..."MarkMonitor was then purchased by Thomson Reuters in 2012. In 2016, the IP division of Reuters, including MarkMonitor was sold to two venture capital companies (Onex Corporation and Baring Private Equity Asia) , under the new parent company "Clarivate Analytics"."

From Wiki "Onex is involved in the American health care industry, owning a number of firms there.They are also in the movie theatre business, both in Canada with Cineplex Entertainment, as well as in Mexico with Cinemex, the latter in partnership with U.S.-based Carlyle Group"

There is data being sent continually back and forth by MarkMonitor while the display is active, and not just when using Smartcast apps or Youtube, Netflex etc, but with all sources...local files over UPnP, etc. . I ran my tests while streaming vacation videos from my HTPC server.

With the sudden removal of HEVC (H.265) codec support, one has to wonder.

There is definitely a lot more going on here than Vizio is disclosing.

Last edited by RRF; 02-10-2017 at 10:48 AM.
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post #16 of 23 Old 02-10-2017, 08:37 AM
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Do these TV's have the option on cancelling their connectivity to the internet, or do they have issues & throw fits when the Ethernet cable is removed &/or Wi-Fi turned off?
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post #17 of 23 Old 02-10-2017, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RRF View Post
...moving this info over from the "Official" P-Series thread, as this thread seems to be the proper one for this info.

First off...I noticed that even with identical SmartCast App versions, the Smart Interactivity switch is still present on my Android phone, but not on the tablet.

So, I took a closer look at the network traffic coming and going from these displays.

The display is in constant communication to several IP addresses which all resolve to 1e100.net
In 40 seconds of capture, there were over 50 messages/packets coming and going to 1e100.net, most of which are encrypted, with multiple cypher updates.
Some of the unencrypted messages reference Chromecast and google-analytics and stats.g.doubleclick. net (redirect virus?!)

7
IP's resolve to MarkMonitor
1
IP resolves to Cloudflare
2
IP's resolve to Amazon

1e100.net
is MarkMonitor.com, a company whose taglines say "Great brands trust us to help them fight online counterfeiting and piracy" "MarkMonitor Protects the World's Leading Brands" Google is one of their customers.

According to Wiki..."MarkMonitor was then purchased by Thomson Reuters in 2012. In 2016, the IP division of Reuters, including MarkMonitor was sold to two venture capital companies (Onex Corporation and Baring Private Equity Asia) , under the new parent company "Clarivate Analytics"."

From Wiki "Onex is involved in the American health care industry, owning a number of firms there.They are also in the movie theatre business, both in Canada with Cineplex Entertainment, as well as in Mexico with Cinemex, the latter in partnership with U.S.-based Carlyle Group"

There is data being sent continually back and forth by MarkMonitor while the display is active, and not just when using Smartcast apps or Youtube, Netflex etc, but with all sources...local files over UPnP, etc. . I ran my tests while streaming vacation videos from my HTPC server.

With the sudden removal of HEVC (H.265) codec support, one has to wonder.

There is definitely a lot more going on here than Vizio is disclosing.

You raise some interesting concerns, which are worth investigating further (which I am in the process of doing). As some of us are more technical than others, I am interested in seeing your "work". Would you mind posting the TCP Dump / Wireshark logs you captured in your investigation? Then, please provide the IP's you saw in your traffic analysis which you believe are associated with MarkMonitor.

Per my research into 1e100.net over the years, those of us in the network security and tech industry know that it's a Google owned domain. (I can't post links yet, so search Google for "1e100.net, and the first result should be a knowledge base article explaining) Google uses 1e100.net for various parts of it's back-end infrastructure, including Chromecast. That's the first item that makes me question your conclusions. The second, your comment about Doubleclick being a redirect virus, Doubleclick was purchased by Google about a decade ago (April 2007 if I'm not mistaken). So, it would stand to reason that some of the 1e100 IP's might resolve to Doubleclick. Finally, you should also be aware that "reverse lookups" on IP addresses, including who owns the netblock searches are notoriously inaccurate.

Anyways, I'm interested in reviewing the "math/work" you used to come to these conclusions. No snark intended, genuinely interested here.

Best,

QP
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post #18 of 23 Old 02-10-2017, 03:56 PM
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First, everyone should read this article...a real eye-opener
https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blog...hind-tv-screen

Quote:
On a second-by-second basis, Vizio collected a selection of pixels on the screen that it matched to a database of TV, movie, and commercial content. What’s more, Vizio identified viewing data from cable or broadband service providers, set-top boxes, streaming devices, DVD players, and over-the-air broadcasts. Add it all up and Vizio captured as many as 100 billion data points each day from millions of TVs. Vizio then turned that mountain of data into cash by selling consumers’ viewing histories to advertisers and others.
The company provided consumers’ IP addresses to data aggregators, who then matched the address with an individual consumer or household. Vizio’s contracts with third parties prohibited the re-identification of consumers and households by name, but allowed a host of other personal details – for example, sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education, and home ownership. And Vizio permitted these companies to track and target its consumers across devices.
Second, Vizio was fined simply for not informing it's customers, it is still carrying on the practice.

I am a bit reluctant to post my full capture logs until I look into them more closely.
I have run several captures, some from a cold start others from a running session.
There are many common IP's across each capture, but some new IP's appear on each session.

Right now I am doing lookups to build an effective IPTables.

MarkMonitor may have been registered by Google, but they do not own the company.
Onex owns their parent company and Onex manages $22B in assets worldwide.

Here is my IP list so far...

MarkMonitor
172.217.3.14
172.217.3.3
172.217.4.234
173.194.192.188
173.194.74.188
216.58.216.110
216.58.219.238
64.233.181.188
216.58.192.238
209.85.234.156

cloudflare
104.28.7.6

amazon
23.23.222.180
54.225.247.175

It is possible some of these IP's are also utilized for firmware updates.
But I know, even without blocking them I had not received the latest update.

Next task will be to take a closer look at the Tablet's IP traffic.
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Last edited by RRF; 02-12-2017 at 10:10 AM.
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post #19 of 23 Old 02-14-2017, 02:14 PM
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Blocking all those IP's in the firewall did not effect the firmware update process...as my update came through today.

It may not even be necessary to block them all, as it initially sends an outgoing request to the same couple of IP's each time,
and then receives encrypted "instructions" before sending out more packets to other IP's.

Curiously the "Smart Interactivity" function on the tablet has been coming and going from the tablet and my Android phone, in the Smartcast menu.(System-Admin and Reset menu)
It was there this morning, then gone after the firmware update.
This has happened before, so I will see if it returns again.
Later I will do some more captures to see if the data communications has changed at all. (removed, new IP's, or still the same)

Smart Interactivity was supposed to be the function to opt out of the data collection, but had no effect (at least not in Canada).
Vizio was fined for not disclosing the true nature of this function.

Packet sniffer is now installed on the tablet (many to choose from on the Google Play store), so later I will monitor the tablet's communications and the Smartcast app.
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Took another look today at the network traffic coming and going on the Vizio P Series, and the results were disturbing.

First of all even with all the previously mentioned IP's blocked by my router, the Vizio was still constantly send out data to new IPs.

Within a few minutes of blocking the IP, the display sends out a DNS request to 8.8.8.8. (Google DNS server).
It then immediately sends out a request to a completely new IP, and a connection is opened to that IP and it resumes sending out data.

So I blocked the Google DNS server, and it tried using my router as the DNS destination.
It eventually got out with DNS request for mtalk.google.com (reqistered again by MarkMonitor) and began sending data to a new IP.
It repeated this several times over the next 20 minutes, to different destinations.

So I blocked the display's IP from the Internet
Next it made several attempts to connect to my Linux server .
Then it found my Nexus 5x cell phone and began exchanging data with it....A LOT OF DATA !! continuously over the the next 20 minutes until I shut it down.

It seems the primary function of this display, and probably any Chromecast device, is to spy on and collect data from all your devices.
If you block the display, it finds another device and uses it !

These displays should never be connected to any network.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RRF View Post
Took another look today at the network traffic coming and going on the Vizio P Series, and the results were disturbing.

First of all even with all the previously mentioned IP's blocked by my router, the Vizio was still constantly send out data to new IPs.

Within a few minutes of blocking the IP, the display sends out a DNS request to 8.8.8.8. (Google DNS server).
It then immediately sends out a request to a completely new IP, and a connection is opened to that IP and it resumes sending out data.

So I blocked the Google DNS server, and it tried using my router as the DNS destination.
It eventually got out with DNS request for mtalk.google.com (reqistered again by MarkMonitor) and began sending data to a new IP.
It repeated this several times over the next 20 minutes, to different destinations.

So I blocked the display's IP from the Internet
Next it made several attempts to connect to my Linux server .
Then it found my Nexus 5x cell phone and began exchanging data with it....A LOT OF DATA !! continuously over the the next 20 minutes until I shut it down.

It seems the primary function of this display, and probably any Chromecast device, is to spy on and collect data from all your devices.
If you block the display, it finds another device and uses it !

These displays should never be connected to any network.
If you go into vizio tablet settings/system/Reset & Admin/ Then turn off smart interactivity & Debug Data Collection. Does this disable the traffic your seeing, or just reduce it?

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/disable-...art-tv-spying/

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post #22 of 23 Old Today, 07:50 AM
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How to Disable Vizio TV from tracking you

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/disable-...art-tv-spying/

Curious if it still collects data with the settings set as described in this article.

At the end of the day I am sure they are all collecting data. I wounder how to stop xfinity x1 cable from not tracking you. I don't recall see any settings for tracking.

This link shows how to disable various tv's and streaming services from tracking.
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/your-tv-...ow-to-stop-it/

Vizio P65-C1
Denon AVR-X7200WA
BJC-FE
B&W CM10 S2, CM6 S2, CM Centre 2 S2. DTech A60
HTPC, Fire TV, Kodi, NAS,HHub
Echo/Dot, SThings, Hue

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post #23 of 23 Old Today, 11:13 AM
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All my packet captures were done with it switched off
The Smart Interactivity control has no effect. In fact, since the last couple of firmware updates it is now greyed out.

I installed "NoRoot Firewall" on the tablet and my Android phone.
It showed connections to googles 1e100.net domain for almost every app running, including many apps I did not expect to be running.
So far, I like this firewall as you can block those google connections within each app, while leaving the base connections for the app unhindered.

Even with the Smartcast app forcibly stopped in Android Settings, it continues to try and connect to the display along with over 100 attempts to connect to different IP's on 1e100.net as well as google caching servers on my ISP's network....all while the display is off (eco mode also on) and ethernet disconnected.

Last edited by RRF; Today at 12:14 PM.
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