Bandersnatch-Ing Data from Interactive Netflix Show

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Bandersnatch, the interactive Black Mirror movie on Netflix, was something of a hit. Viewers could pick the narrative path they went down. However, the Register reported on research that showed the data about choices could be snooped on using network packet analysis. Indeed, the scientists behind the research claims that they successfully determined what choice users made 96% of the time.

When viewers watching the video choose one of the two narrative paths at various branch points in the story, that information gets sent back to Netflix to display the appropriate video segment. And it turns out to be possible to discern which branch each viewer took through network packet analysis. In a paper just released through pre-print service ArXiv, “White Mirror: Leaking Sensitive Information from Interactive Netflix Movies using Encrypted Traffic Analysis,” a handful of the institute’s computer scientists show that story choices – sent from the viewer’s browser to Netflix via a JSON file – can be inferred despite the encryption of network traffic.

Remember Bandersnatch? Netflix Saved Your Choices

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Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch is a choose-your-own-adventure game that went viral. As it turns out, Netflix saved the choices you made.

He found that Netflix is tracking the decisions its users make (which makes sense considering how the film works), and that it is keeping those decisions long after a user has finished the film. It is also stores aggregated forms of the users choice to “help [Netflix] determine how to improve this model of storytelling in the context of a show or movie.”

This doesn’t seem like a huge issue to me. This is standard analytics the platform keeps.

Netflix Releases Black Mirror Bandersnatch Trailer

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Netflix has released the trailer for Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and it’s as dystopian as ever. The movie will apparently be 90 minutes and fans think it will somehow be a Choose Your Own Adventure experience. The trailer description doesn’t say much:

In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Welcome back.

It stars Fionn Whitehead of Dunkirk.