Roku Update Trades Convenience for Your Privacy

There’s a new update coming to Roku that brings some convenient options, at the cost of your privacy.

Do you Roku? I do. If you don’t know what the Roku is, it’s a streaming media player. I’ve had one for years, and I absolutely love it. With the Roku, you can stream online content straight to your big screen TV. From free online content like YouTube, to Netflix, to now, even paid content that was previously only available via cable or satellite. Streaming media devices are a cord cutter’s dream. As long as that cord is not connected to your internet access.

Roku has brought forth a new software update that promises a few new features. Among those features are the ability to use Sling TV’s Cloud DVR services and “additional viewing options may include the ability to watch from the beginning, watch more episodes of the same show and/or view suggestions for similar entertainment available to stream.” This is of course done by collecting information from the device on your viewing habits.

Roku’s privacy policy states,
“If you choose to enable a feature called “More Ways to Watch” on your Roku TV, then in addition to the viewing information and other information that Roku collects from your Roku TV as described elsewhere in this policy, Roku may also collect viewing information using ACR. If “More Ways to Watch” is enabled, Roku uses ACR to help Roku identify the networks, channels, and programs you watch and when you watch them via your Roku TV’s antenna or devices connected to your Roku TV’s input ports, including over-the-air broadcasts and cable set-top boxes. Based on this information, we may recommend personalized content, serve personalized ads to you and measure viewership of ads and programming.

We may supplement this viewing history with other demographic data we learn about you. We may also share viewing data derived from ACR with third parties such as measurement providers in an aggregate manner or in ways that do not personally identify you directly.”

In other words, they’re not only collecting your data, but they also have the right to sale your data. Luckily, these services are opt-in to the customer. Meaning the customer needs to choose to allow Roku to collect this data. Unfortunately, I’m sure most won’t take the time to actually read where their data is (and may) be going. Additionally, users will need to opt in to the collection in order to utilize the new features.

In this modern age, data is big business. And as far as personal data goes, your viewing habits may not seem like much. But in this connected world, when even your media streaming device starts to track your habits, you must wonder, will there be anywhere, will we be able to do anything, that is private anymore?




BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.