data privacy

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Saved All Your Answers, Will Probably Be the Plot of Next Black Mirror

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

If you didn’t take the time in January to sit down and watch/play through Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, this is your moment to feel superior. The choose-your-own-adventure episode let viewers choose between cereals like Frosties and Sugar Puffs and moves like “karate chop dad” versus “kick him in balls.” Netflix, it turns out, saved every one of your decisions, according to Michael Veale, a technology policy researcher at University College London who used Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to force Netflix to show him just what information it was saving while you watched Bandersnatch. (The United States has no such laws.)

Veale told Motherboard he was motivated to find out more after Bandersnatch-as-data-mining-operation became something of a running bit on Twitter. Netflix said it uses the collected data to “inform the personalized recommendations you see in future visits” and also to “determine how to improve [the show’s] model of storytelling.” Netflix did not say how long it will be storing said information for or how it is stored.

Veale also said he thinks Netflix only provided him with answers — which, mind you, he obtained by knowing which hyperspecific questions to ask — because he’s a known name in the world of GDPR research and requests. Had he not been, well, himself, Veale’s not sure Netflix would have provided the information he requested; he told Motherboard that he has other colleagues in the space who were “just got told to get lost, or even had their accounts deleted for being troublemakers,” for similar requests.

At the very least, Netflix has the plot for a new episode of Black Mirror all set and ready to go.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Saved All Your Answers