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Plex says recent policy changes don't mean it's sharing your data

Or even identifying your data.

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Last week, the makers of media player software Plex sent an email to users informing them of a privacy policy. In effect, the new terms would remove the ability to opt-out of the software's data collection. Predictably, there was some pushback over the weekend, with subscribers worried about two things: that Plex would sell their data and also be able to see into their media libraries. That's a big deal if you've got a ton of illegally-downloaded movies or music on your media drive. On Monday, however, the company's CEO promised that Plex would update its policies for better clarity and user privacy.

"We definitely hear and understand your concerns and really appreciate all the thoughtful feedback we've received over the last 24 hours," writes CEO Keith Valory on the website. "We've been working on this for weeks and many of us who use Plex every day have had to work through this carefully to get ourselves comfortable. That said, many of you have raised good points that (somehow!) we didn't consider, so we are going to make some important changes to address those."

Valory points out that Section F of its Use of Information portion of its privacy policy already prohibits the company from selling your data. "We've updated the summary to make this more clear," says Valory, "but I will state unequivocally here, we will NEVER sell any data, anonymous or otherwise, about your own personal library.

Further, while Valory thinks it would be tough to identify any media file based on the information Plex must have to properly function, his company is going to do three things to help assure his users. First, the playback stats will be "generalized" so that they are less specific; e.g. rounding out playback durations to further obscure the specific file, yet still use the information to manage its servers. Second, Plex will now allow users to opt out of sharing this type of data. Finally, Plex will let you see what data is being collected and how to opt out of it.

"We hope this allays the concerns many of you have expressed," Valory concludes. "We'll work on getting the Privacy Policy and summary page updated over the next few days. We'd do it today, but...lawyers. Again, thank you for all your thoughtful feedback and recommendations!"

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