ABC iView registration is back, and so are privacy concerns

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ABC iView registration is back, and so are privacy concerns

Facebook, Google queue up for hashed user e-mail addresses.

The ABC has decided to press ahead with its unpopular iView registration requirement.

The public broadcaster had originally intended to require registrations from July 2021, but last year shelved the idea in response to concerns about privacy and legality.

Now, the requirement is back, with iVew slated to require an ABC account from 15 March.

The rationale is the same as it was last year: users will get personalised services like recommendations, watchlists and “continue viewing”.

And what the ABC wants also remains the same - it gets to track users, analyse their data, and exchange data with Facebook and Google.

However, the ABC says in its draft Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) [pdf] that only the e-mail address associated with an account will be passed to the tech giants.

If the ABC and Google or Facebook have a user in common - that is, using the same e-mail address - then they will be shared for encrypted e-mail promotions. Users can opt out of this, the PIA says.

To prevent any other party snooping on e-mails passing between the ABC and Google/Facebook, the addresses will be hashed, since the recipients only need the hashes to match to identify a user. Technology provider Tealium will be in the middle.

Anna Johnston, principal of Salinger Privacy, stood against last year’s proposal and hasn’t changed her stance.

She told iTnews: “People who have reason to be particularly concerned about the risks to their privacy, versus the benefits of personalisation, should remain free to make their own choices about that trade-off.”

“Making account creation mandatory is hardly going to endear iView to the two-thirds of existing iView viewers who either have not been persuaded to create an account thus far, or who are actively opposed to the idea, let alone attract new viewers”, Johnston added.

“If one purpose of collecting email addresses from iView viewers is to show them ads for ABC content on other platforms such as Facebook and Google, why not just email those viewers direct, and leave Facebook and Google out of the equation?”

Disclosures to Facebook, Google and Tealium should be optional, Johnston said, and only made if the user actively, voluntarily gives their informed consent via an opt-in.

The ABC’s PIA noted that its privacy policy, privacy collection statement, and terms of use have all been updated to explain the handling of personal information, as well as the consents and opt-out mechanisms available.

The ABC’s iView announcement is here.

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