Streaming Devices Track Viewing Habits, Study finds (Oct 16, 2019)
It has been revealed by a study conducted by researchers from Princeton University and University of Chicago that certain streaming devices are tracking the viewing habits of its users. The research found that streaming devices Roku and Amazon Fire TV had widespread tracking on its platforms. 69% of Roku channels had trackers in-place whereas AmazonFire TV had 89% of its channels being tracked. Both of these devices are referred to what is called Over-The-Top (OTT) devices which allow smart features to be added to your TV, online streaming libraries being of focus.
Recommendation: As a consumer of OTT devices, it is important to be aware of the privacy policies prior to purchasing and subscribing to services. It is recommended that OTT platforms such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV provide better privacy controls to its customers similar to the idea of incognito mode incorporated into web browsers. The companies behind these OTT platforms must be transparent as to why they are tracking the user's viewing, what it is being used for, what third-party vendors will have access to if any and five users the option to remove the capability of device to track user viewing habits. As for consumers,
Indicators of Compromise (IOCs) associated with this story can be viewed by ThreatStream users here to identify potential malicious activity.