By Shira Ovide, New York Times Company
There is a description of the personal information scraping behavior of free digital services that sell advertisements (including Facebook and weather apps): if you don’t pay for the product, you It is a product.
But sometimes you can pay for the product with Become a product.
Common Sense Media, a non-profit children and family advocacy organization, released a report this week that found that most popular streaming services and TV streaming gadgets in the United States, such as Netflix, Roku, and Disney+, failed to satisfy The organization’s minimum requirements for privacy and security practices. The only exception is Apple.
We are used to the corporate arms race to track every mouse click and credit card swipe. But what is surprising about the organization’s report is that people’s out-of-pocket streaming entertainment products have some of the same data habits as websites such as Facebook and Google, which rent out our data to earn advertising fees.
“This should be a wake-up call for streaming media platforms,” James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, told me. “These platforms can and should do better, and I think they will.”
The organization stated that streaming media companies can do more to retain the data they collect from American households, exclude exceptions in their information practices to better protect children, and provide more assurance that people’s data is not Will be used to carry out lightning attacks on customers. Advertisements are spread all over the Internet or entered into files compiled by data intermediaries.
Researchers have previously analyzed the data usage habits of some streaming media products. Common Sense Media’s work on this latest report is very comprehensive. It checked the privacy policies of 10 online video services (such as HBO Max) and 5 streaming devices (including Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV). The organization has also set up computer systems to track the whereabouts of digital information leaving streaming video applications or devices.
Common Sense Media found that most of the companies in its analysis can use information about what people do on its services to tailor advertisements to customers across the Internet, or to allow other companies to do so. For example, it can see many streaming media companies transmitting data to the advertising businesses of Amazon and Google.
Some streaming companies, including Netflix, said that they usually don’t allow other companies to know what we watched during the carnival hours on Friday night. Some other people in the analysis left information about the content we watched and the possibility that it could be used for targeted advertising or for other purposes.
Data from streaming media companies may also eventually be collected by companies, which collect a lot of information, such as the brand of toothpaste you buy in the store and what you do on your phone. Common Sense Media stated that some efforts to provide customers with informed consent are too complicated. For example, the organization said that Amazon requires people to click on 25 policies on Fire streaming media devices to use the device, and there are two more policies to use its Alexa voice assistant.
The organization said that Apple, which touts its consumer privacy principles but does not always achieve its established ideals, has more than other censored gadgets in its Apple TV+ streaming video service and TV connector gadget called Apple TV Stronger protection.
(Apple helped fund the school’s Common Sense Media News Literacy Program, and it was one of the companies that allowed the organization to rate and comment. Common Sense Media told me this has nothing to do with its privacy assessment.)
Not all collection or use of our data is necessarily harmful. Streaming companies use people’s information to help us reset forgotten passwords and make sure we can watch Hulu when we jump from our smartphone to the TV.
The problem highlighted by Common Sense Media is that, with a few exceptions, Americans have no way of knowing how the company handles all the information they collect about us. In most cases, we have to rely on providing legal documents to control the illusion, and carefully consider the hypothetical risk of what problems our personal information may have in the wild.
This situation has caused Americans to distrust technology companies and worry about what will happen to our personal data, but Steyer said that there is a silver lining in our collective anxiety: companies and politicians know that more Americans care. Information privacy.
“I am very happy to see the fundamental changes in public perception and awareness, which will drive political and industry changes,” Steyr said. “The tide is changing.”
This article originally appeared in New York Times.