The taxpayer-funded broadcaster has announced for those looking to take advantage of its iview service.
In a statement Thursday, ABC said it would collect but not sell user data, although it has been found to share the data with Google and Facebook.
iview is a service that allows viewers to view programs that have already aired or, in some cases, are yet to air.
The change was originally planned for mid-last year but was delayed due to strong criticism from privacy experts and others over the proposed data sharing and recording mechanisms. ABC’s plans to share viewer data with Facebook and Google were a point of contention.
The ABC says that “considerable work has been done to provide effective privacy controls” during this delay. But nevertheless, critics insist the new provisions still cover data sharing without full consent.
While the default settings for an ABC account would be to share data with Google and Facebook, the statement states that users can control what data they share with third parties by making changes to their account settings.
After a FOIA request from security researcher Dr. Vanessa Teague last year, it was revealed that the iview user data collected by the ABC through Google Analytics was stored in the US.
“Personalized ABC iview services will mean a better user experience through features such as program recommendations, watchlist, and the ability to pick up a show where they left off across multiple devices,” the statement said.
It claimed that using logins “would enable the ad-free public broadcaster to continue nurturing its relationship with the public”.
Organizations like Google and Facebook have been collecting data for years about every search and social media post we make and every website we visit.
Often the argument for collecting this data is similar to the one ABC uses: collecting it produces more personalized recommendations and a better user experience. However, tech companies also make billions by using this data to sell customized ads (and sometimes by selling actual data).
Organizations such as Electronic Frontiers Australia have even argued that this kind of data collection can be a slippery path for profiling and bias, with organizations using it to choose who should receive certain services or assistance.
The ever-increasing data collection comes simultaneously as the government is centralizing its databases under the myGov banner, binding all government services to Medicare or tax codes.
How enjoying Q+A can raise tough questions.
ABC and its subscription require each user to create a profile and log in to its service. The main question here is the same as when using a Flybuys card or creating a new social network account.
Does the ease of sharing this data (in this case ABC), in terms of personalized recommendations and watchlists, as well as the ability to access the service in general, balance what we believe our data will ultimately do? Are used?
And when we ask this question, it’s worth thinking very broadly. While we’re only talking about looking at the story and watch time in this case, it’s not much different from cat food and diapers when you think about it.
Significant amounts of information can be derived from our browsing habits, political affiliations, and attention span. What it can be used for is a mystery.
This does not mean that you should not create an account but log in with your eyes wide open. Think about what iview means to you, what data can be shared, and how it can be used. And then decide if you really love Bluey that much.
Media release provided by external inbound PR distributor
Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Matthew is passionate about sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He is also an advocate for global cybersecurity issues. He has been working as an IT support engineer for 20 years.