Every Streaming Company Not Named Apple Receives a Lousy Grade on Privacy commonsensemedia.org

Common Sense Media recently completed an assessment of ten streaming video services and five dedicated devices, and has some concerns (PDF):

Many viewers know that free streaming apps are most likely selling their personal information, but most viewers may not know that most paid subscription streaming apps are also selling users’ data. Even more expensive streaming plans with “no ads” or “limited ads” still collect viewing data from use of the app to track and serve users advertisements on other apps and services across the internet. Also, data brokers buy and sell users’ data and share it with other companies for data recombination purposes.


Our privacy evaluations of the top 10 streaming apps indicate that all streaming apps (except Apple TV+) have privacy practices that put consumers’ privacy at considerable risk including selling data, sending third‐party marketing communications, displaying targeted advertisements, tracking users across other sites and services, and creating advertising profiles for data brokers.

It is the same story for devices, too.

Via Karl Bode, Techdirt:

Some of the failures were downright ugly, like making no real exceptions for the data collection of children. Many of the issues revealed weren’t the end of the world, but they make it repeatedly clear that companies aren’t being transparent about what is collected, and often enjoy making opting out of data collection and monetization as cumbersome and annoying as possible.

Also remember that smart televisions are among the worst offenders of user privacy. Even if you use an Apple TV box and watch shows through Apple TV Plus, your television may still be automatically recognizing everything you watch.