WPP and its media trading platform Xaxis, Interpublic Group, smart TV maker Vizio, ispot.tv, TubeMogul and several other ad tech companies have been slapped with a multimillion dollar class action law suit in U.S. District Court in California for allegedly sharing personally identifiable viewing data culled from Vizio smart TVs in violation of several federal and state laws including the Video Privacy Protection Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law.
The suit is just the latest to be filed against Vizio and a number of ad tech companies citing privacy and related laws.
The two named plaintiffs in the suit are Robyn Kuntzmann of Multnomah County, Oregon and Linda Bunch, of Atlantic County, NJ, both of whom bought Vizio smart TVs and allege that viewing data from their sets was used illegally.
The suit alleged that Vizio collected data from its consumer network of smart TV users knowing that its value would “fuel future growth and drive revenue” at the company.
As owners of Vizio smart TVs, the plaintiffs charged that their “personally identifiable information was disclosed for marketing and advertising purposes without their informed, written consent by Defendants to third parties.” The Vizio sets, they argued, have complicated “opt out” default mechanisms to avoid sharing data but that they are legally required to have default “opt-in” mechanisms.
The plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin defendants from “further deceptive distribution, marketing and sales of non-compliant Vizio Smart TVs.”
Plaintiffs also want millions in compensatory, exemplary, punitive and statutory penalties and damages. The exact amount will be determined at trial, although the figure is in excess of $5 million, per the complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court for Central California on April 20.
Plaintiffs also want refunds for their TVs as well as any “ill-gotten profits received from the use and sale of their personally identifiable information to third parties.”