10 votes

Watching you watch: the tracking system of over-the-top TV streaming devices

5 comments

  1. [2]
    Autoxidation
    Link
    I think this is a good plug for Pi-hole, which can selectively block these domains and reduce the amount of tracking one is subjected to. I've been using one for the past few months and it's been...

    I think this is a good plug for Pi-hole, which can selectively block these domains and reduce the amount of tracking one is subjected to. I've been using one for the past few months and it's been great. Some initial implementation pains with trying to work with services that are dependent but some playing with blacklist and whitelist filters can go a long way to making things stable for the long term.

    It's mentioned at the end of this article, but misses some of the tracking domains. That's okay, since you can configure Pi-hole to address these issues.

    12 votes
    1. cardigan
      Link Parent
      It's also a good plug for getting a VPN and sharing media illegally, until such a time as getting basic entertainment doesn't involve such flagrant violations of privacy and dignity.

      It's also a good plug for getting a VPN and sharing media illegally, until such a time as getting basic entertainment doesn't involve such flagrant violations of privacy and dignity.

      6 votes
  2. [2]
    Douglas
    Link
    The next time I'm in the market for a TV, I really want to find whatever has the best picture and none of the bloatware. The last TV I bought/the one I have is the Sony Bravia. Upon purchase I...

    The next time I'm in the market for a TV, I really want to find whatever has the best picture and none of the bloatware. The last TV I bought/the one I have is the Sony Bravia. Upon purchase I could (but don't) check Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Weather from it-- as well as stream Netflix, Pandora, and their Crackle service directly from its menus. I think it was within 3 years of purchase that they depreciated half of these features, so now half of my menus legit just have husks of stuff I never used whenever I go into the menus, and some of the buttons on my remote just don't do anything at all.

    I just want a TV. I'll leave the streaming to the PS4 and leave everything else off.

    5 votes
    1. Autoxidation
      Link Parent
      I've seen talk about this on privacy minded subreddits, and it's increasingly hard to find a 'dumb' TV. You're more or less looking at large computer monitors as your only option, and they can get...

      I've seen talk about this on privacy minded subreddits, and it's increasingly hard to find a 'dumb' TV. You're more or less looking at large computer monitors as your only option, and they can get pricey.

      2 votes
  3. skybrian
    Link
    From the article: [...] [...]

    From the article:

    The study focuses on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, which together account for between 59% and 65% of the global market. The top 1000 channels from each service are analysed using a custom-built crawling engine, and traffic is intercepted where possible using mitmproxy.

    For each service, a list of the top 1000 channels was compiled, as well as the top 100 channels across the most popular categories. Since there was no off-the-shelf crawling infrastructure for OTT devices, the authors then had to build their own.

    [...]

    On Roku TV, the most prevalent tracker is for Google’s doubleclick.net (975/1000 channels). On Amazon Fire TV it is amazon-adsystem.com (687/1000). Facebook is notably less present on TV than it is in mobile and web channels.

    [...]

    Nine of the top 100 channels on Roku, and 14 of the top 100 channels on Amazon Fire TV leak the title of each video watched to a tracking domain. The Roku channels leaked this information over unencrypted connections.

    3 votes