Recently, especially under the influence of the Android operating system set-top television boxes began to multiply like mushrooms. In addition to major brands such as Amazon Fire TV or Roku, Chinese brands also have numerous products.
As it is known, set-top TV boxes either offer content channels by agreement or you download content channels by subscribing to some platforms. The key feature of these boxes is that they receive a certain share of ads shown on content channels or run the channel for a fee. Therefore, prices are relatively low.
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Researchers at Princeton University have done a study to understand how set-top boxes use user data. Amazon Fire TV and Roku TV boxes were laid on the table.
The researchers designed a bot software that pretended to be a user, browsing and examining content channels in boxes. When the software encounters an advertisement, it perceives it as personal data collection and reports.
As a result of the study, 89 percent of the channels in the Fire TV model, 69 percent of the Roku TV channels were found to collect data anonymously. 97 percent of ads on Roku TV channels belong to Google DoubleClick ad service.
Researchers think that many companies can create a serious template about what you’re watching and your likes, as Google agrees that the collected data is served to Google. Of course, Google can also share this data with its partners for more personal ads.
This data collection is blocked when the user turns off personalized advertising, but hardware data such as the serial number of the device and WiFi networks continue to be collected.
The report is made only for two box brands, but there are numerous television boxes with or without branding. Since there are no detailed reports on how personal data is collected in this segment, the severity of the incident is unknown. On the other hand, since the users signed long contracts without paying attention to the first opening, there is no right to appeal.