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.