Not long ago, Amazon released new updates for its FireStick and Fire TV line of devices. If I hadn’t noticed that the option “Device” in the Settings had been renamed to “My Fire TV,” I might not have known that my FireStick had been updated. But that isn’t the change we’re here to discuss.
The Privacy Settings have changed as a result of the update, allowing Amazon to collect Device and App Usage data by default for “marketing and product improvement purposes,” according to the company. The update also allows Amazon to track the amount of data used by your FireStick and Fire TV devices. In other words, Amazon has allowed itself to spy on you without your knowledge.
The update affects all previously updated FireStick devices, while new FireStick devices come preinstalled with the update.
I’m not sure how this information will be used or whether I can trust Amazon with my device usage data. What I am certain of is that I will not share my personal information with any organization, regardless of its size or reputation.
However, there is some good news. These settings may have slipped past you unnoticed, but Amazon allows you to turn them off. These privacy settings can be turned off to prevent your data from being shared with Amazon. I’ll show you how.
Note that while you can prevent Amazon from collecting your usage data, your online activities are still visible to your ISP, the government, and a number of third parties. Invest in a VPN and enjoy complete anonymity.
Check for the FireStick Update
As previously stated, the new privacy settings only apply to devices that have received the most recent updates or are brand new (such as Fire TV Stick 4K).
Check to see if your device is up to date with the most recent firmware version. Here’s how to go about it:
Navigate to the FireStick Settings page.
Select Device (or My Fire TV)
To learn more, go to the About page.
Check for System Updates is selected.
If a new update is available, install it right away. Yes, even if it prompts you to accept the new Privacy Settings. We’re going to turn off these options anyway. It is recommended that you install the most recent updates on your FireStick or Fire TV.
Stop Amazon from Spying on You
Now let’s turn off the Privacy Settings and prevent Amazon from collecting any information about your usage:
From the FireStick home screen, go to Settings.
Select Preferences from the drop-down menu.
Click Privacy Settings when you see the following options.
Collect App Usage Data and Device Usage Data should now be available to you. Both of these options should be turned off.
To return to the previous screen, simply press the back button on your FireStick remote once more.
To monitor data, go to Data Monitoring.
Turn off Data Monitoring by clicking it once more (if it is ON)
Maintain Your Streaming Activities Private
Your online activities are not private even if you have turned off Device/App usage data and data monitoring. Your ISP and the government may be able to see what you’re streaming and accessing on the internet via your Fire Stick or any other device. I use ExpressVPN on all of my streaming devices, and I recommend that you do as well.
ExpressVPN is currently the fastest and most secure VPN available. It has apps for all of your devices, including the Amazon Fire TV/Stick. Here’s how to quickly install ExpressVPN on your Fire TV/ Stick.
Step 1: CLICK HERE to join ExpressVPN. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included. Meaning, you can use it for free for the first 30-days and then request a full refund if you are not satisfied with the results (which is highly unlikely).
Step 2: Turn on your Fire TV/Stick and navigate to the “Search” option on the far left. Now type “Expressvpn” (without the quotes) into the search bar and select ExpressVPN from the list of results that appears.
Step 3: To download and install the ExpressVPN app for Fire TV/Stick, click “Get.”
Step 4: Launch the app and log in using the credentials you created when purchasing an ExpressVPN subscription. Select “Sign in” from the drop-down menu.
Step 5: To connect to a VPN server, click the Power icon. That is all there is to it. With the fastest and best VPN for FireStick, your connection is now secure.
More information on using ExpressVPN with Fire TV / Stick can be found here.
Conclusion: Amazon is Spying on You with New Fire TV Stick Update
I wish Amazon had been more transparent about these changes. But why should we be concerned about our privacy if these companies are so open about collecting our personal information right in front of our eyes? Thankfully, once you’ve discovered you’re being watched, Amazon gives you the option to turn off the surveillance. I’d like to hear your thoughts on these changes. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.