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TV maker improperly tracked consumers’ viewing habits

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey officials say television manufacturer Vizio and a subsidiary will pay $2.5 million to settle allegations that they surreptitiously tracked consumers’ viewing habits and sold the information to marketing companies and data brokers.

The settlement announced Monday ends parallel investigations conducted by the state and the Federal Trade Commission into the use of data-collecting technology on Vizio’s smart TVs.

The FTC will get $1.5 million and the state will receive $1 million. The state will suspend $300,000 in civil penalties included in its settlement amount if Vizio complies with the agreement.

According to legal documents, Irvine, California-based Vizio and a subsidiary manufactured smart TVs that captured second-by-second information about video displayed on the sets.

The data was sold to marketing companies and data brokers to measure viewing habits, such as the effectiveness of ad campaigns.