Apple TV 4K
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
- Adjust privacy settings on Apple TV
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, email, phone number, address
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
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?
WiFi connection is required to set it up.
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
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.
Apple has a bug bounty program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid.
Some of Apple's AI research can be found at https://machinelearning.apple.com/.
Is this AI untrustworthy?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
Got a comment? Let us hear it.