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This privacy page in the HBO Max iOS app is a work of art.

Let’s start with how I navigated here. (Shout out to Dave Mark for making me aware of its existence in the first place.) Launch the app, tap on the account tab on the bottom right, then tap on the little gear icon at the top left, then tap on “Do not Sell My Personal Information” towards the bottom of the list.[1]

Not the hardest page to find, but I’m willing to bet around 2% of HBO Max’s users will bother to dig this deep into their own account settings.

Next, the header: “For California Residents Only.” Does that mean this switch only applies to California residents? Since I live in Colorado, should I not bother with this switch, because they are going to sell my info anyway? Or are they saying they only sell the data of Californians in the first place?

“pursuant to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)”

Translation: We’re only offering this option because those assholes in California made us do it.

If you’re feeling bored, go ahead and tap the “visit the Privacy Center” link. There, you will find a crystal clear explanation:

We do not sell personal information for monetary value, but we do sometimes transfer it to third parties as part of a mutually beneficial business relationship. Because of this, we refer to the sale of personal information as “data sharing.”

Funny, I’ve always defined “sharing” as willingly and knowingly giving someone something of mine. Giving away something that belongs to someone else is usually referred to as theft.

Let us know that you don’t want us to share this data with third parties any longer by submitting a request.  We’ll ask you to provide an email address.  Then we will search our systems to make sure you’re excluded from third-party data sharing based on that email address.  As to some third parties, we may only be able to honor your request if you are a California resident.

Translation: Let us know if you want us to stop helping others steal your information, and if you live in California, we may actually stop doing that. The rest of you can pound sand.

The switch is off by default, of course. And it’s greyed out, as if the designers of this app want you to think you can’t even tap on it. iOS native switches have a white tappable/draggable handle when in the “off” state. Warner went out of their way to make the handle black.

Finally, the footnote.[2] “This change will take effect the next time you start the HBO Max app.”

In other words, now that you’ve flicked the switch, we’re going to immediately “share” your info before you get a chance to quit the app and restart it.

And here I was dumb enough to wonder why Warner didn’t want to offer HBO Max as an Apple TV Channel.

I love that they actually labeled the page that way, rather than calling it “Privacy Settings” or something less blatant. ↩︎

I tried to find the corresponding asterisk in the main body of the text, but there isn’t one. But now I’m just nitpicking. ↩︎