Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

Apple
Wi-Fi

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Not creepy

If money is no object, then Apple TV 4K could be right for you. It comes with all the bells and whistles — that means things like 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos sound. You'll be able to streams from standards like Netflix and Disney+ and rent or buy movies as well. You'll also get a free three month subscription to Apple TV+, Apple's own streaming service (it's $4.99 per month after the free year) so you can watch all that great original Apple content like Ted Lasso and uh… well, I'm sure there's some original content they've made that's good besides Ted Lasso, right? And if you like talking to Siri, just ask Siri to find you something good to watch. As Ted would say, Believe!

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Apple does collect data about what you watch, purchase, or download on Apple TV. Apple will use this data to offer personalized recommendations for other shows to watch and target ads to you on Apple platforms like in the App Store or Apple News. They do give you the option to opt out of both these forms of data collection, which is great. And Apple says they share some non-personal information with the makers of shows to help them see how their shows are performing and pay out royalties. In the streaming TV world, this is all pretty standard and maybe even a little less scary than other companies like Roku who seem to share your data with many more third parties.

When it comes to those Siri requests through the remote control, Apple takes special care to make sure those requests aren't associated with you, which is great. Apple did face backlash in 2019 when it came to light their contractors were regularly listening in on confidential personal conversations when they were reviewing the voice assistant's recordings. Apple changed their policy so users weren't automatically opted-in to human voice review. Recently, Apple made another positive change for your Siri voice requests — many audio requests for things like setting timers or alarms or controlling music will no longer be sent over the internet to their servers, instead processing them directly on the device. This is better for your privacy.

Apple did recently suffer a bad security vulnerability that resulted in spyware that could allow bad actors to record calls and messages and even turn an iPhone or iPad camera and microphone on without the user knowing. Apple did patch the security vulnerability. And this vulnerability didn’t seem to impact Apple TV devices. But, it is a good reminder that even the best companies can be vulnerable to high level hacking.

Tips to protect yourself

mobile Privacy Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks location

Device: No

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Apple says it does not share your data with third parties for commercial or marketing purposes. In June 2021, Apple announced that it will no longer send Siri requests to its servers, but instead will process them at the device level.

Apple may share non-personal information about your transactions and viewing activity to Apple TV strategic partners, such as content owners.

How can you control your data?

Apple retains personal data only for so long as necessary to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected, including as described in their Privacy Policy or in their service-specific privacy notices, or as required by law. You can clear your play history in the Apple TV app in Settings. Aple retains personal information associated with your purchases, downloads, and viewing activity on the Apple TV app for different lengths of time depending on business need, contractual obligations, and legal requirements. For purchases and downloads, that often requires at least a ten-year retention period.

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Average

Apple had a recent serious security vulnerability. From Firewall Times: "In September 2021, researchers discovered that a spyware called Pegasus had infected iPhones and other Apple Devices via a ‘zero click exploit’, granting the spyware broad power over a users’ device. Once infected, the spyware could record calls and messages and even turn the device camera and microphone on without the user knowing. Pegasus was produced by the NSO Group, an Israel-based company that sells its spyware to governments such as Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Though this spyware would presumably be used to surveil terrorists and criminal enterprises, these governments have also used it to spy on activists, politicians, and journalists. As of September 13, 2021, Apple has patched the exploit."

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

WiFi connection is required to set it up.

User-friendly privacy information?

Yes

Apple has a webpage highlighting its privacy principles and features. Apple begins its privacy policy with a statement of principles. While this statement is very long, it is clearly broken out into relevant topics.

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest. After Apple recognizes the words “Hey Siri,” what you say is encrypted and associated with a random identifier without being tied to your Apple ID. Audio samples are only retained if you have opted-in.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Apple has a bug bounty program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid.

Privacy policy

Yes

Apple has a webpage highlighting its privacy principles and features. Apple begins its privacy policy with a statement of principles. While this statement is very long, it is clearly broken out into relevant topics.

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

Some of Apple's AI research can be found at https://machinelearning.apple.com/.

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Apple states in its privacy policy, "Apple does not take any decisions involving the use of algorithms or profiling that significantly affect you." Apple employs machine learning in many different ways, from using it to to improve Siri to using it to sharpen the photos that you take.

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Yes

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Yes


News

Apple TV+ is the only streaming service that takes your privacy seriously
Cult of Mac
Almost every video streaming service except Apple TV+ is selling your data to third-party companies and tracking your viewing habits for targeted ads.
Apple overhauls Siri to address privacy concerns and improve performance
The Guardian
Apple will no longer send Siri requests to its servers, the company has announced, in a move to substantially speed up the voice assistant’s operation and address privacy concerns.
Improving Siri’s privacy protections
Apple
At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right. We design our products to protect users’ personal data, and we are constantly working to strengthen those protections. This is true for our services as well. Our goal with Siri, the pioneering intelligent assistant, is to provide the best experience for our customers while vigilantly protecting their privacy.
Apple resumes human reviews of Siri audio
Associated Press
Apple Inc. is resuming the use of humans to review Siri commands and dictation with the latest iPhone software update. In August, Apple suspended the practice and apologized for the way it used people, rather than just machines, to review the audio.
Apple apologises for allowing workers to listen to Siri recordings
The Guardian
Apple has apologised for allowing contractors to listen to voice recordings of Siri users in order to grade them. The company made the announcement after it completed a review of the grading programme, which had been triggered by a Guardian report revealing its existence. According to multiple former graders, accidental activations were regularly sent for review, having recorded confidential information, illegal acts, and even Siri users having sex.

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