Protect your privacy by changing these settings on your Roku and other streaming devices

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Streaming Devices of Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon fire stick and AppleTV are an easy and inexpensive way to watch your favorite content streaming servicessuch as netflix, Hulu and HBO Max. Unfortunately, plugging one of those little sticks or boxes into your TV has a downside: their software platforms often monitor what you’re watching and follow him behind the scenes.

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Every major Smart-TV The streaming platform captures your viewing data. Software and hardware manufacturers – from your new broadcast key to your TV itself – uses this data to “improve” the products and services that it offers, by personalizing the recommendations of programs and the advertisements that it presents to you, for example. Although potentially frustrating, the ads help keep the price down when you’re buying a new one. diffusion stick.

One tracking tool is called Automatic Content Recognition, which is software that recognizes images on your TV. ACR works regardless of whether the images are coming from an app or an HDMI port like a cable box, Xbox Where PlayStation. The good news is that you can turn it off.

While we have previously covered this for the TVs themselvesFor this story, we checked out all the latest software on streaming devices from Amazon, Roku, Google, and Apple.

Here’s what we found and what you can do about it on your respective new streaming players.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

Preferences with device usage data set to On

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Amazon’s privacy policy states that your Amazon device “collects data about your use of the device and its functionality, such as your home screen navigation, selection of device settings (such as device language, display size, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth options), or opening and closing apps and services.”

According to Amazon, the company uses this data to “develop and improve products and features, to better understand how products are used, to assess customer engagement, to identify potential quality issues, to analyze our business, and to personalize offers. marketing”.

The exact data it captures varies with each app and service.

Here’s how to take back control. All settings can be found by going to Settingsthen Preferences, then Privacy settings.

  • Picking out Device usage data and disable this setting.
  • Go to Collect Application usage data and disable this setting.
  • Select Interest-Based Ads and disable this setting.

Now, your Amazon Fire TV device will no longer be able to track your data for marketing purposes or view the frequency and duration of your use of downloaded apps. It also won’t offer you targeted advertising, but it will still contain advertisements.

Google Chromecast with Google TV

Chromecast Privacy Settings with Usage and Diagnostics set to On

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Google has a privacy policy for all of the company’s products, which details what data it collects to sell ads or recommend other content such as YouTube videos.

Data collected includes terms you search for, videos you watch, views and interactions with content and ads, voice and audio information when you use audio features, purchase activity, people with which you communicate or share content, activity on third-party sites and applications that use our services.

Google claims that Google Chromecast as a platform does not perform ACR or monitor the specific content users watch.

Here’s how to control data on Google Chromecast with Google TV.

  • Head toward Settings and scroll down to the section titled Privacy. Here you can access location, usage and diagnostics settings and ads. There are also sections for account settings which include Google Assistant as well as Payment and Purchases. Finally, the section contains app settings where you can control app permissions, special app access, and security and restrictions.
  • Click on Use and diagnosis and make sure this tab is disabled. This means that you no longer send diagnostic information to Google.
  • Click on Adsand Disable ad personalizationto prevent applications from using your identifier to create personalized advertising profiles.
  • To manage other data Google has about you, such as YouTube and search histories and web and activity data, go to myactivity.google.com.

Roku

Roku Privacy Settings with Advertising Selected

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Roku’s privacy policy states that the company will collect “your search history, search results, audio information when you use voice features, the channels you access (including usage statistics such as channels you access, the time you access them and how long you spend watching them), interactions with content and advertisements, and settings and preferences.”

Roku says it shares data with advertisers “including ads you view on Roku’s channels and third-party channels, as well as ads included in content you view through your Roku TV’s antenna and connected devices”.

Here’s what you need to do to limit or disable some of the tracking.

  • From the Roku main menu, open Settings and head to Privacy.
  • For Advertisingmake sure the box Limit Ad Tracking is checked. This prevents Roku from personalizing ads and sharing streaming channel viewing data for measurement purposes. Roku will let channel providers know that you prefer not to have personalized ads, but according to Roku, it’s up to the providers whether or not to respect your preference. Similarly, “Limit Ad Tracking” will not prevent individual channels, such as Hulu or Netflix, from collecting their own data about your usage or passing that information on to other parties.
  • For Roku devices with a built-in microphone in the remote, you can access Microphone so what Channel microphone access to choose how a channel accesses the microphone. You can always allow them access, never allow them access, or pop up a prompt and request permission to access the microphone. With the Channel Permissions button you can manage the permissions for each individual channel.

AppleTV

Apple TV Privacy Settings with Share Apple TV Analytics set to Off

Sarah Lord/CNET

Apple’s privacy policy states that the company collects information from your Apple ID primarily so that you can seamlessly pick up where you left off on other devices. The information it tracks includes “what content you play, when you played it, the device you played it from, and where exactly in the content you paused or stopped watching. We collect also a detailed history of all playback activity for Apple TV Channels and Apple TV Plus.”

It also states that the company shares certain information with partners who “work with Apple to provide our products and services, to help Apple market to customers, and to sell advertisements on behalf of Apple for display in the App Store and Apple News and Inventory”.

But unlike the others on this list, Apple still asks you if you want individual apps to track your usage the first time you use them. You can prevent each app from seeing your data by clicking no each time it appears.

And Apple has other privacy settings you can change. Here’s how to find them:

First, you will need to find and click on the settings icon. Hit it General tabthen scroll to Privacy. The Privacy menu includes Location Services, Tracking, Photos, Bluetooth, HomeKit, Media and Apple Music as well as Apple TV users.

  • Click on Followed and make sure that Allow apps to ask to follow is On.
  • Go back to Privacy menu. You will see a separate section called Analyzes and improvements.
  • To change Share Apple TV Analytics at Stopped.
  • To change Improve Siri and dictation at Stopped.

You have now blocked Apple from tracking your analytics and using your data to improve Siri or dictation.

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