Did you know that your Fire Stick is spying on you?
If you haven’t changed the settings that I’m going to show you in this post there’s a great probability that your Amazon Fire Stick is spying on you by tracking and monitoring your activity. Even if you’re using a VPN.
Now, almost everyone I know has used Amazon at some point in time; myself included. So I’m pretty sure they’ve already collected plenty of information about us. Is it really necessary for Amazon to monitor my Fire Stick usage? I don’t think so! Keep reading and I’ll show you what you can do to stop it.
Here’s The Proof!
If you need more proof that your Fire Stick is spying on you, or if you’re just curious to know what information they collect and how they use it, then go into your Fire TV device’s settings and see for yourself. You’ll find the information in the “Legal & Compliance” section which is located in the “My Fire TV” category of your device’s settings. You can also find this information on their website at amazon.com/devicesupport
Amazon’s Privacy Notice (The Fine Print)
Now, if you guessed that most of what you’ll find on Amazon’s privacy notice page is just “Lawyer speak;” full of required notices, disclaimers, disclosures, and legal jargon, then you are absolutely correct. Of course, Amazon like many other powerful big tech companies does its best to present this information in a positive way. It almost feels as though they want us to believe that they are doing us a huge favor by spying and collecting data on us!
But make no mistake about it folks, this is “CYA” at its finest. The rule of law (in the U.S.) will not allow companies like Amazon to collect nonpublic personal information on consumers in secret. Therefore, required notices like this are considered a vital principle of fairness and due process.
Hiding In Plain Sight
The only problem is that most people don’t pay attention to the fine print in these notices and disclosures. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of just “clicking the accept button” to continue without reading any of the terms and conditions. But this is where they let us know in writing what information they are looking to collect and how they plan on using it.
My dad used to say, “Son, if you really want to hide something from people, just put it in a book! Because most people won’t read it.” I think Amazon understands exactly what my dad meant.
What Are They Looking For?
- Identifying Information Such as Your Name, Age, Address, and Phone Number.
- Payment Information.
- Your Location Information.
- IP Address.
- Device Log Files And Configurations, Including Wi-Fi Credentials.
- Personal Description And Photograph In Your Profile.
- Voice Recordings When You Speak To Alexa.
- People, Addresses, And Phone Numbers Listed In Your Addresses.
- Email Address Of Friends & Others.
- Your Online Browsing History.
- Social Security Number
- Drivers License Number
- Your Financial Information & Credit History
But Why Are They Spying On Me?
Just Follow The Money!
Amazon’s privacy notice webpage contains approximately 3474 words, not including links to other related pages. But I think I can sum up everything they are really saying in much fewer characters.
In a nutshell, Amazon is telling us that they are going to use their technology and systems to gather as much information about us as possible. Then they are going to use that information to bombard us with targeted interest-based ads. Because ultimately, their overall objective is to manipulate us and get us to buy something.
Now, to be completely fair to Amazon, I added the last part about manipulation. But you don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to read between the lines and understand what’s really going on here.
What Are Interest-Based Ads?
Interest-based ads are sometimes referred to as personalized or targeted ads. Amazon shows interest-based ads to display features, products, and services that might be of interest to you.
- Recognizing you when you sign in to use their services. This allows them to make product recommendations, display personalized content, recognize you as a Prime member, enable you to use 1-Click purchasing, and provide other customized features and services.
- Keeping track of your specified preferences.
- Keeping track of items stored in your shopping basket.
- Conducting research and diagnostics.
- Delivering content, including ads, relevant to your interests on Amazon sites and third-party sites
Amazon’s cookies allow you to take advantage of some of Amazon’s essential features. For instance, if you block or otherwise reject their cookies, you will not be able to add items to your Shopping Cart, proceed to Checkout, or use any Amazon products and services that require you to sign in.
Amazon-approved third parties may also set cookies when you interact with Amazon services. Third parties include search engines, providers of measurement and analytics services, social media networks, and advertising companies.
In the end, it might be impossible to stop Amazon from collecting data on their customers. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make it more difficult for them to spy on us.