Roku Streaming Sticks

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Roku Streaming Sticks

Roku $29.99 - $129.99
Wi-Fi Bluetooth

Review date: 11/02/2020

Roku is the streaming TV device company that focuses solely on streaming TV--and selling your personal data. It give you lots of "channels" in its app store--everything from standards like Netflix and Hulu, to YuppTV for those can't miss south Asian channels and FunimationNow for the anime lovers. News, weather, sports, classic cartoons, Bollywood HD and Pokémon TV. Truly something for everyone. Just know that their privacy policy scared the researchers who worked on this guide a whole lot.

What could happen if something goes wrong

Roku is the nosey, gossipy neighbor of connected devices. They track just about everything! And then they share that data with way too many people. According to Roku's privacy policy, they share your personal data with advertisers to show you targeted ads and create profiles about you over time and across different services and devices. Roku also gives advertisers detailed data about your interactions with advertisements, your demographic data, and audience segment. Roku shares viewing data with measurement providers who may target you with ads. Roku may share your personal information with third parties for their own marketing purposes. One of the researchers working on this guide said, "It had such a scary privacy policy, I didn't even connect it to my TV." Another researcher referred to Roku as a "privacy nightmare."

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: No

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks Location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What is required to sign up?

What data does it collect?

How can you control your data?

You can request that data be deleted. You can ask Roku to stop personalizing your ads, and to limit ad tracking in your Settings. Your opt-outs are device specific and does not carry over to other Roku devices. You have to opt-out for each individual device. You can disable Automatic Content Recognition in your Settings.

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

Needs Improvement

Consumer Reports found that the Roku was vulnerable to hacking in 2018.

Can this product be used offline?

No

User friendly privacy information?

No

Links to privacy information

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

There is a password for a Roku account but no password is required to use a Roku device once it’s set up.

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Roku does not have a formal bug bounty program, but Roku has paid bounties in the past to people who disclosed security issues.

Privacy policy

Yes

Artificial Intelligence

Does the product use AI?

Yes

Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?

Yes

Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?

No

Roku uses Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) to track what you are watching on TV. They use this information to help advertisers target you more accurately.

Company contact info

Phone Number

No

Live Chat

No

Twitter

RokuSupport

Updates

Roku is in the ad business, not the hardware business, says CEO
The Verge
Roku sells more dedicated streaming devices than perhaps any other company in the world. It’s been estimated that there are more Rokus in US households than there are Fire TVs, Chromecasts, or Apple TVs. (Amazon strongly disagrees, but has never shared any sales numbers.) But here’s something that might surprise you: the money that Roku makes from its hardware lineup isn’t enough to sustain the company’s business.
Cheatsheet: Roku expects to make $1 billion in revenue this year
Digiday
Roku’s advertising business continues to grow, and so does its control over the ads running on its connected TV platform. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Roku’s platform revenue — which includes advertising revenue — continued to exceed revenue from the sale of devices running Roku’s connected TV platform, which Roku categorizes as “player revenue.”
How to Turn Off Smart TV Snooping Features
James K. Willcox
Your TV may know—and share—a lot of information about you. That’s what CR has found repeatedly in recent years, including during a 2018 analysis of privacy and security in smart TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL (which uses the Roku TV smart TV platform), and Vizio.
Samsung and Roku Smart TVs Vulnerable to Hacking, Consumer Reports Finds
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports has found that millions of smart TVs can be controlled by hackers exploiting easy-to-find security flaws. The problems affect Samsung televisions, along with models made by TCL and other brands that use the Roku TV smart-TV platform, as well as streaming devices such as the Roku Ultra.
Roku leaves rivals in dust – claiming machine learning breakthrough
Tommy Flanagan
Roku blew away its numbers in style as the US streaming company surpassed 30 million active users in Q2 2019 – comprehensively extending its native dominance in the connected TV space. But while Roku’s second quarter results are a milestone for the company, they also signify significant tailwinds in a broader field – advertising.

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