A thumbs down for streaming privacy.

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Free digital services is an expression of personal information that sells ads, including Facebook and seasonal apps: if you do not pay for the product, You There are products.

But sometimes you can pay for a product. And Be the product.

Common Sense Media, a non-profit advocacy group for children and families, published a report this week stating that most popular US streaming services and TV streaming gadgets such as Netflix, Roku and Disney + Failed to meet the group’s minimum requirements for privacy and security practices. . The only exception was Apple.

We’ve gotten used to the corporate arms race to track every mouse click and credit card swipe. But what is surprising from the group’s report is that streaming entertainment products for which people pay out of pocket has some data habits from sites like Facebook and Google that pay for our data in advertising dollars. For rent.

“This should be a wake-up call for streaming platforms,” ​​Common Sense Media chief executive James P. Steer told me. “These platforms can and do work better, and I think they will.”

The organization said streaming companies are working harder to retain data collected from U.S. households, with the exception of informational methods to better protect children, and further assure that people’s data Will not be used for users. Advertising or data across the Internet is fed into Middleman’s dossiers.

Researchers have previously analyzed the data habits of some streaming products. What Commons Sense Media did with this latest report was cleverly comprehensive. It examined the privacy policies of 10 online video services, such as HBO Max, and five streaming devices, including Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV. The organization also set up a computer system to track whether digital information left streaming video apps or devices.

Common Sense Media found that most companies can use information in their analysis of what people do on the Internet to serve their services to advertisers, or allow other companies to do the same. It was worth noting, for example, that many streaming companies piped data into the advertising businesses of Amazon and Google.

Some streaming companies, including Netflix, say they generally do not allow other companies to know what we see in Friday night’s Benj session. Others in the analysis leave out the possibility that information about what we see may be used for targeted advertising or other purposes.

Streaming companies’ data can also be lost with companies that compile information reams, such as what brand of toothpaste you buy in the store and what you do on your phone. And Common Sense Media said some of the efforts to provide informed consent to consumers were too complex. For example, the organization said that Amazon asked people on the Fire Streaming gadget to click on 25 policies to use the device, and two more to use their Alexa Voice Assistant.

The organization said that Apple, which adheres to the principles of privacy of its users but does not always adhere to the stated principles, compared its Apple TV + streaming video service and its TV connector gadget to Apple TV. I have strong protection.

(Apple helps fund the Common Sense Media News Literacy Program for Schools, and is one of the companies that licenses organization ratings and reviews. Common Sense Media told me that no Doesn’t matter.)

Not all of our data collection or use is necessarily harmful. Streaming companies help us reset people’s forgotten passwords and make sure we can watch Hulu from a smartphone to a TV set.

The problem that the Common Sense Media has highlighted is that Americans, with limited exceptions, do not know what companies do with all the information they collect about us. Most of the time we have to rely on legal documents that give the illusion of control and think through the fictitious dangers of what could go wrong with our personal information in the jungle.

This situation has increased Americans’ distrust of tech companies and concerns about what happens to our personal data, but Steyer said there is a silver lining to our collective concern: companies and politicians know that more Americans Take care of the confidentiality of information.

“I’m incredibly happy to see a fundamental change in public perception and awareness, and that will drive both political change and industry change,” Steer said. “The tide is turning.”

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