Companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and various operating systems, applications, platforms, and websites that we regularly use, gather significant amounts of data regarding our usage patterns. It is important to note that these records are not created solely for the purpose of indiscriminate data collection. Instead, in most cases, there is a legitimate purpose behind it – to enhance and provide improved services to users.
For instance, the data collected by Google enables personalized recommendations across its range of services. Similarly, operating systems like Apple’s, despite emphasizing their commitment to privacy, also collect user data from iPhones, iPads, and Macs in order to improve services and offer tailored advertisements. Microsoft follows a similar approach. And this trend extends to other platforms as well.
When it comes to streaming platforms, whether for music or video, it may come as a surprise that they also gather information about how we utilize their services. However, unlike Google, Microsoft, and Apple, they do not employ this data to allow third parties to target advertising campaigns towards specific users. As an example, Netflix, the world’s most popular streaming platform, collects a vast range of information from all users on a shared account. The nature of the data collected by Netflix is diverse and extensive.
Download Netflix usage data
Once we have successfully downloaded the compressed file containing all the data that Netflix has collected about us, we can proceed to unzip it. Upon extraction, we will discover a series of folders and two PDF files. The first PDF file, labeled “Cover,” provides a comprehensive legend that explains the terminology used in the accompanying CSV files, facilitating a better understanding of the information contained within them. The second PDF file, titled “Additional Information,” provides insights into the data collected, its intended purpose, and how that data is utilized.
In addition to the PDF files, the extracted directory contains 11 folders, each containing specific sets of data:
1. Account: This folder includes our account details, such as our full name, registration date, and the email address associated with the account.
2. Clickstream: This section logs our interaction and activity within the Netflix application, including information on the areas we click and the actions we perform. The data displayed may vary depending on the specific profile used to access the application.
3. Content_Interaction: Here, we can find records of our interactions with the Netflix platform, including searches we have conducted.
4. Customer_Service: This folder contains messages and communications exchanged with the customer service team.
5. Devices: All devices used to access Netflix using the account are registered in this folder.
6. Games: If we have played any of the free Netflix games, this folder provides a summary of our gameplay, including details such as the start and end times of our gaming sessions.
7. IP_Addresses: Netflix keeps track of the IP addresses from which we access the platform, even after implementing measures to prevent the use of shared accounts.
8. Messages: This section houses all the emails received from Netflix, with each email categorized based on its subject.
9. Payment_And_Billing: Information related to our payment methods is stored in this folder.
10. Profiles: This folder presents an overview of all the user profiles we have created on the platform.
11. Surveys: If we have participated in any surveys on Netflix, the collected data will be stored within this folder.
These directories and files collectively provide a comprehensive snapshot of the data Netflix has collected about our interactions with the platform.