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Over the past week there has been media interest in Alphonso automated content recognition (ACR) technology. An important component of our work in this area is our commitment to consumer privacy and choice. We’d like to share more about how we demonstrate this commitment.

For those just getting to know us, Alphonso is a TV data company that collects TV viewership data only after a consumer has provided explicit consent. This data is used to power a variety of TV recommendations (e.g., alerting viewers of breaking news or release of a favored show) and ad targeting and measurement services.

We do this by working with smart TV manufacturers, connected device makers, and mobile application developers. Specifically, on mobile platforms, the application developers choose to integrate our ACR software into their mobile applications.

Double Opt-In, Single Opt-Out
We have built the Federal Trade Commission’s recommended privacy protections into our service. We give consumers enhanced notice and acquire their consent through a “double opt-in” before data collection, and we provide consumers with an easy-to-use opt-out choice. As a result, Alphonso’s ACR technology is enabled only in mobile apps where the consumer provides prior consent to our data collection. And, consumers can opt out from Alphonso’s advertising practices at any time.

This approach puts consumers in control of how we may collect and use data.

This process doesn’t occur in fine print, but in a series of front-and-center screen prompts that must be explicitly confirmed, as in the images below.

A user explicitly opts in to allow access to their microphone

A user can opt out at anytime in the app setting menu or through device level settings

You can learn more about opting-out on the devices that may integrate Alphonso’s technology via the guides posted on our website at http://alphonso.tv/mobile-opt-out-guide/.

Alphonso also participates in industry bodies such as the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Consumers can opt out of interest-based advertising services by Alphonso on a web browser at www.aboutads.info/choices and on mobile devices by downloading AppChoices via www.youradchoices.com/appchoices (which links to the major app stores).

Beyond making sure Alphonso only collects data from explicitly opted-in consumers, we also would like to note a few things about the technology:

  • Our software never transmits or stores human speech or other raw audio
  • Our software captures millisecond audio samples for generating digital signatures that are matched against known TV content only
  • Moreover, these signatures are never saved and the signatures cannot be reversed to original audio
  • Our software never analyzes audio for speech, keywords, or language
  • Our software never collects personal information like name or email address. Data is associated with a numeric device ID

For more information, please see:

Alphonso’s App Distribution
Alphonso’s SDK has been deployed in more than 1,000 mobile applications, in a range of apps including social media apps, TV companion apps, news apps, messaging apps, and game apps.

We have a stringent process for reviewing which apps can contain our software, and in particular, we do not allow our SDK to be embedded in apps targeted at children.
If we identify apps that do not meet our criteria, we disable our software within these apps.

Should you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact Alphonso at privacy@alphonso.tv.

Update: Alphonso TV data services are live only within the United States.

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