Still Sharing Your Netflix Password? This Company's AI Will Find You and Rat You Out

Thursday, 10 January 2019 - 11:47AM
Artificial Intelligence
Thursday, 10 January 2019 - 11:47AM
Still Sharing Your Netflix Password? This Company's AI Will Find You and Rat You Out
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Image adapted from work by Justin Wilson (CC BY 2.0) & Matthew Keys (CC BY-ND 2.0) (links below)
So many streaming services, so little money. We won't ask for a show of hands, but everyone knows someone who "borrows" Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and other account login information from a friend, family member, or family member of a friend. It's a widespread practice that none of those companies prefer because it means less money in their wallets, but so far there hasn't really been a crackdown to stop it. That may soon end, however. According to a recent article in The Verge, a company called Synamedia unveiled a new AI-based service at CES 2019 that it claims can track down shared passwords. The service is obviously geared toward the streaming services and not the streamers, but it's what those services may decide to do with the data that should have consumers worried.

Synamedia's machine learning program, called Credentials Sharing Insight, looks at where an account is being used, when it is being used, what content is being streamed, and what devices are being used to stream that content. The doesn't appear that the algorithm itself would have the power to lock people out of accounts, but it would provide a score to the provider that reflects the probability that a password has been shared. "A typical pattern would be you have a subscriber that is simultaneously watching content on the East Coast and West Coast of the US," chief technology officer Jean-Marc Racine told The Verge. The terms of service for each streaming service is different, and many state that users can be logged into numerous devices at a time, but Synamedia says that the system could be used to target those who abuse the privileges and overshare or sell passwords to other users.

Apparently there are "a number of firms" currently testing the algorithm, but Synamedia is not naming names. The Verge points out that the company's current client base for other services includes AT&T, Comcast, Disney, Verizon, and Sky, so in theory it could be any or all of them. Good luck sharing the upcoming Disney streaming service with your MouseMingle friends across the country.

Cover image adapted from work by Justin Wilson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) & Matthew Keys/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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