You probably already know, but I’ll tell you anyway: many TV streaming devices collect personal data from users. The confirmation comes from a study by Princeton and Chicago Universities that looked at Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
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To monitor apps, smart crawlers have been created. With them, it was possible to find that there are trackers in 69% of Roku apps and 89% of Amazon Fire TV apps. The data tracked included “unique identifiers such as handset IDs, serial numbers, MAC addresses, and SSIDs” that were shared over unprotected connections.
Google’s doubleclick.net trackers were found on 975 Roku apps. At the same time, an Amazon ad tracker was the most frequent on Fire TV, in 687 apps. At Roku, 90% of hosts were games, while at Amazon, 50% were news channels.
To make matters worse, tools available on devices to avoid tracking, such as limiting ad tracking and blocking options, are ineffective.
No reasons were given for not including Apple TV, but the researchers mentioned that the branded security application should serve as an example for other platforms as a way to prevent insecure connections. Experts believe that the crawlers used can be adapted to Apple TV, Samsung and Vizio.