Man Uses GDPR to Find That Netflix Hoards All Your Bandersnatch Choices

By Holly Brockwell on at

Turns out Netflix has a big stash of all the choices everyone has ever made in Bandersnatch, including you (if you've watched it).

Tech policy researcher Michael Veale made a GDPR access request and found out exactly how much Netflix stores about your Bandersnatch choices and how the data is formatted, which is fascinating for us supernerds:

On the face of it, it's not at all surprising to learn that Netflix stores all your Bandersnatch choices. How else would it know to show you things you didn't see the first time around (some scenes change depending on what you've already seen), or record interesting stats like these?

However, Veale rightly asserts that as well as raising awareness of the fact that you can ask companies for information like this, his request highlights the fact that Netflix doesn't actually ask you if it can store this information. Best practice would be to inform the user about what's being stored, how and why, and allow them to decline if they want to. That might mess up the story flow, but it should always be the user's choice whether their button clicks are stored or not.

However, props are due to Netflix for the formatting and explanations it provided with the data after Veale sent his passport to verify his identity. The streaming company included a plain-English explanation of what the terms in the file meant:

And a key to what the choice codes relate to:

The data even records which platform you were using when you made each choice – except Apple TV, obviously, because it doesn't work.

Given the paranoid, we're-all-being-watched overtones of Bandersnatch and Black Mirror in general, the fact that all your choices were tracked and logs seems pretty appropriate. If you start seeing strange symbols around your house, though, it's all over. [Motherboard]