In response to customer feedback, Amazon has released a privacy setting update for its Fire TV and Firestick devices. Based on our findings, we thought we’d share some insight on what these updates mean for you as a customer.
Basically, when you enter into the Fire TV “settings” or “preferences” menu, you’ll find two areas – privacy settings and data monitoring.
We’ve since switched off both options and left only “Interest-based ads” active because we still want to see relevant ads. Besides, you’re going to come across some ads in any case, so it might as well be relevant ads to you.
To be honest, we never warmed up to the concept of sending data usage information to accompanies that are associated with some of these devices, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google.
Judging from the latest, Big Brother is definitely overstepping its bounds. Luckily, Amazon does give customers the option to deactivate undesirable settings that infringe on one’s privacy.
Still, it’s worth learning how to prevent Amazon from monitoring your behavior.
Why Do Online Companies Want to Track You?
Also referred to as “Interest-based advertising”, online behavioral advertising collects information that you share via your various gadgets. This includes data related to your interests, habits, and trips. This makes it easier for them to predict your likes and dislikes so they can show you relevant advertisements.
Even tech big-wigs like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook leverage this information to make money through advertisers. All of these companies are competing to see who can gather as much data as possible without overstepping their boundaries.
Nowadays, you’re not even safe from your phone carrier because they too profit from your personal data which they often sell to third-party marketers.
While it’s virtually impossible to eradicate behavioral tracking, there is something you can do to prevent Amazon from monitoring your behavior by reducing the amount of data they have access to.
Attention: Read before you continue
Governments and ISPs across the world monitor their users online activities. If found streaming or browsing content on your Fire TV Stick, mobile or PC, you could get into serious trouble. Currently, your IP is visible to everyone. We strongly recommend you to get a good VPN and hide your identity so that your online experience doesn’t take a bad turn.
We use IPVanish which is the fastest and most secure VPN in the industry. It is very easy to install on any device including Amazon Fire TV Stick. Also, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you don’t like their service, you can always ask for a refund. IPVanish also runs a limited time offer where you can save 57% on your VPN and they allow you to use one account on unlimited devices. This is a flash sale that can expire at any time.
What Can You Do About Amazon?
The first step to prevent Amazon from monitoring your behavior is to understand how they operate. If you have an Amazon account, then your online behavior is most likely being tracked. That’s why you’ll often find purchase recommendations that are eerily similar to the stuff that you were browsing through earlier.
The good news is that the platform does give you the option to prevent such tracking. Go to the Amazon home page and click on “Your Account”. Navigate to the bottom of the page and click on “advertising preferences” where you’ll be able to deactivate personalized ads. Keep in mind that this feature requires cookies in order to work.
Also contained in “advertising preferences” is an option to see and regulate your browsing history. This is where you go to disable all kinds of tracking or at least remove certain sections from your Amazon history. This could come in handy when you’re shopping for an item that you most likely won’t need again, i.e. gift shopping.
If you have Amazon Echo at home, you can rest assured that this device won’t record your private conversation or eavesdrop on your life. It only starts recording once you say the magic word “Alexa”.
Anything you say to the device after that will be related to Amazon. After processing whatever request you’ve made, Amazon stores this information. But, you can always delete it any time you like under the “Manage Your Content and Devices” option in the settings menu.
Another way to prevent Amazon from monitoring your behavior would be to mute your Echo device by pressing the microphone button at the top.
While these fixes are currently working, there’s no telling what might happen in the future due to updates. We’ll keep you in the loop either way.
How Does Amazon Monitor Your Online Activity?
Here’s what Amazon uses to track you:
• Browsing Activity
When looking for stuff to purchase on Amazon, the website stores all types of data including your IP address, time zone, operating system, the amount of time you spend on every page you visit, the browser you use and even the buttons you click in the process. It’s pretty detailed.
• User Profile
This includes all the data and credentials that you use to flesh out your profile. Amazon stores all of this information including your shipping address and credit card numbers.
• Order History
Amazon basically keeps track of everything that you purchase. This includes the time at which you bought the item and how many there were. Again, they use this information to flesh out your interest profile.
• Wish Lists
Amazon also keeps track of the items you add to your Wish List in order to figure out what you prefer and to flesh out your interest profile.
• Search Queries
When you search for something on Amazon, the platform stores that information as well, including the keywords you used and the time at which you did the search. This helps them keep track of your preferences.
• Mobile App
If you’ve ever used an Amazon developed app then you should know that these apps also track your location data and send it back to Amazon.
Whenever you write a review or rate an item, Amazon uses that data to advance your interest profile. This makes it easier for the platform to cater to your needs.
Amazon also stores any information and responses related to surveys, questionnaires and contests.
How to Prevent Amazon from Monitoring You
Here are six steps you should take:
2. Select Preferences.
4. Switch off Device Usage Data.
7. Turn Off Data Monitoring.
Did you find our tips on how to prevent Amazon from monitoring your behavior helpful? Let us know in the comments below!