• Reclusion

Protecting Your Privacy from Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Chromecast Devices



So, you've got a new streaming device. You're not worried about privacy yet? Well before getting too comfortable on the couch with your Roku or Apple TV there are just some settings that should be adjusted to better protect yourself from tracking software being emitted behind-the scenes by these devices while using them for entertainment purposes!


Major platforms like Amazon, Google and Apple capture your viewing data to improve their products. For example they can tailor show recommendations as well adverts that you see on screen with ads tailored specifically for viewers based off the shows/movies YOU watch! When they can collect it all in one place, then their customers will benefit from a more personalized experience and cost-saving benefits as well.


One of the most useful tools for tracking is called Automatic Content Recognition, which can be used to recognize images on your TV regardless if they come through an app or HDMI port. The great news? You don't need it turned on!




Amazon Fire TV


Amazon's privacy policy is clear and concise. It says that your Amazon device "collects data about the use of this app," which include things like how often you open it or switch between apps, as well as what kind of phone ( Android/iOS) you have.


The information this company captures is invaluable, and it's used for a variety of purposes. For example, Amazon uses the data to "develop and improve products" as well as gain insights into how customers are using their apps or services - like what they might need improvement on next.


Here’s the steps you can take to control your privacy on Amazon Fire TV Stick:


  • Go to Settings.

  • Select Preferences and then Privacy Settings.

  • Choose Device Usage Data and turn this setting off.

  • Go to Collect App Usage Data and turn this setting off.

  • Finally, select Interest-Based Ads and turn this setting off.




Google Chromecast


Google has a single privacy policy that applies to all of their products. The company details the data it collects and sells ads with, as well providing recommendations for other content such as YouTube videos based on your search history.


Google collects a lot of data. Data that tells Google what you search for, how long your video is watched and whether or not it has been commented on by other users - in addition to any ads viewed during this time period. Google also tracks voice instructions when using audio features like Hey Google "play next" command.

Here’s the steps you can take to control your privacy on Google Chromecast with Google TV:


  • Go to Settings and then Privacy.

  • Choose Usage and Diagnostics and turn this setting off.

  • Then click Ads and choose Opt Out of Ads Personalization.




Roku


We don't have a lot of information about what Roku does with your data, but it seems like they are pretty privacy conscious. The company promises that they will only use the collected items "to provide you with better services and products" in their Privacy Policy.


When you use the voice-enabled features of Roku, your search history and preferences are collected. This includes what channels are accessed for usage statistics as well as how long people view them or interact with content on a particular channel throughout their time browsing television shows/online videos via an application connected to the Roku platform.


Here’s the steps you can take to control your privacy on Roku:


  • Go to Settings and then select Privacy.

  • Within Advertising, we recommend that the Limit Ad Tracking box has been checked.

  • For Roku devices with a microphone in the remote - Go to Microphone.Then choose Channel Microphone Access and choose the option to where Roku “requests permission” each time the feature is used. This way you can be aware when your Roku device is listening and not accidentally recording a private conversation.




Apple TV


Apple has a privacy policy that they say allows them to collect information from your Apple ID so you can seamlessly pick up where you left off on other devices. The data collected includes what content customers are playing, when they play it and which device is being used for playback (e.g., computer vs smartphone). They also keep track of detailed history about all TV channel viewing as well as app use within certain apps such as Netflix.


Apple always asks if you want individual apps to track usage and progress with their products - just select "no" when it is offered as an option in order for them not to have access or remember anything about what kind of content (app) has been used throughout its lifetime.


Here’s the steps you can take to control your privacy on Apple TV:


  • Choose the Settings, General and then scroll down to Privacy.

  • Select Tracking and make sure Allow Apps to Ask to Track is on. This way each app you interact with must request permission from you and you can control your data being provided to those companies.

  • Finally, go back to the Privacy Menu. Select Analytics and Improvements.

  • Click Share Apple TV Analytics and turn this setting off.

  • Click Improve Siri and Dictation and turn this setting off.


Wrap Up:


As you can see - streaming devices are constantly collecting and storing data about you, your viewing habits, the apps that you visit and much more. If you think this article was helpful or you know a friend or family member who would benefit - feel free to share.