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Can Plex staff and potenially Big Brother access my files now?

I've got a question based on a few factors.

1. Plex requires that our collections be registered with them.
2. Plex now has a centralized list of all computers/servers running Plex.
3. Plex staff can theoretically access our files at will (depending on how they've coded their closed source server)

What happens if some "big brother" type decides that Plex is used to share copyrighted materials and decides to sue Plex for this centralized list of servers. Will they then be able to see what I'm sharing on Plex, whether its videos of my kids for my inlaws to watch, or copyrighted content?
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Comments

  • Chris CChris C Posts: 11,832Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee
    edited November 2011
    Check the State of the Release blog post, which discusses security concerns. Specifically:

    Security/privacy
    IANAL but these are my common sense notes:

    • All communication between clients and myPlex is fully SSL encrypted.
    • myPlex doesn’t store any information about your media (files, hashes, etc.)
    • myPlex stores five thumbnails from each section (when it gets around to it) but no metadata about items in your library (beyond what you see).
    • myPlex acts as a hub, connecting Plex clients and Plex servers, but it is not involved in any communication between client and server (beyond facilitating it).
    • myPlex stores URLs and metadata for queued items (obviously), and your progress viewing the items.
    • When clients sign into myPlex, they send OS type and version, client type and version, and a unique identifier (random UUID on most platforms).
    • myPlex loves you and respects you. myPlex doesn’t wait to call you. myPlex never forgets your birthday.

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  • MildlyConcernedMildlyConcerned Posts: 7Members
    I appreciate the attempt at reassurance. Somehow, Plex stating that they're safe, doesn't make me feel safe. Conrad Murray thinks he's a good doctor too.

    The biggest question is, why? None of the other "server" programs that I use, or that I know of (which isn't much) require me to give access to the software creators, not Subsonic, not VNC, Not RDP, not FTP, not RemotePotato (newly installed). Why Plex, how does opening up my computer to you, help me?
  • tobeswsutobeswsu Posts: 2,878Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    It lets you connect remotely without configuring ports and dyndns. This may not be a huge deal for an adept user like you but it is for the vast majority of plex users. The other programs you mention aren't for your everyday user while plex strives to be.
    ~John T.

    New here? Read the wiki and watch the screencast! You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration! :) If that didn't help, posting log files can help us track down your issue.
  • 5stringdeath5stringdeath Ninja Posts: 1,402Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja
    myPlex isnt even necessary on your own subnet.

    Running PMS on a 2.6GHz i7 MacMini

    Clients include: 2xRoku, ATV, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPhone 6 (x2), TiVO Bolt, PS4, Sony Android TV, PlexWeb in Chrome, Amazon Fire Stick & Secrets

     

     

  • MildlyConcernedMildlyConcerned Posts: 7Members
    @JoToFoSho Well, that's a better reply than the previous post of "just trust us". Maybe Plex should consider offering both, a secure version for the "adept" users and one this new, less secure version. Maybe an option on installation? I've never really thought of Plex as being for the everyday user.

    I'd be willing to guess that a large percentage of Plex users are sharing copyrighted material. If someone can download movies, they can probably figure out how to set up Plex and dyndns. If someone can rip their dvds (which is illegal) they can setup plex and dyndns. Your answer makes sense, but I just have a hard time believing Plex is catering to an everyday user. What does Plex think the everyday user is sharing, and where are they getting it from?


    @5stringdeath Who mentioned subnets?
  • 5stringdeath5stringdeath Ninja Posts: 1,402Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja
    edited November 2011

    @JoToFoSho Well, that's a better reply than the previous post of "just trust us". Maybe Plex should consider offering both, a secure version for the "adept" users and one this new, less secure version. Maybe an option on installation? I've never really thought of Plex as being for the everyday user.

    I'd be willing to guess that a large percentage of Plex users are sharing copyrighted material. If someone can download movies, they can probably figure out how to set up Plex and dyndns. If someone can rip their dvds (which is illegal) they can setup plex and dyndns. Your answer makes sense, but I just have a hard time believing Plex is catering to an everyday user. What does Plex think the everyday user is sharing, and where are they getting it from?


    @5stringdeath Who mentioned subnets?


    I mentioned subnets because on your local subnet, myPlex is optional to view your media. So plex users are not "required" to register their collections at all, in that scenario. Its only needed for the remote clients/queues/sharing -- which are nice features, and do require myPlex with version 0.9.5


    I guess you can always roll back to version 0.9.3.4 and use the previous method of connecting clients remotely (via IP and your own login/password.) Officially 0.9.5 Laika is a preview release, which is why the previous version is still available and supported. Its also why your comments will surely be considered as development on 0.9.5 moves forward.

    Running PMS on a 2.6GHz i7 MacMini

    Clients include: 2xRoku, ATV, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPhone 6 (x2), TiVO Bolt, PS4, Sony Android TV, PlexWeb in Chrome, Amazon Fire Stick & Secrets

     

     

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 9,400Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee
    @MildlyConcerned: I appreciate your mild concern. I'll just point two things:

    • You can choose not to use myPlex at all, if it's not interesting or important for you.
    • You can choose to use myPlex only for the queue aspect, and only sign in on the client.


    We're not forcing anyone to use it and your statement of "Plex requires that our collections be registered with them" is incorrect.

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • MildlyConcernedMildlyConcerned Posts: 7Members
    Elan, I realize that there's always the possibility that I'm a complete idiot and somehow got Plex confused with water or oxygen, so thank you for you helpful insight. I absolutely agree with you, I will somehow carry on without Plex should you move forward with insisting that I give you access to my computer.

    Apart from that, I actually really like Plex and have had good success with it. I'll admit that yesterday after uninstalling I looked around and found RemotePotato which seems to be a better alternative simply because no client app is required, however I liked being able to use Plex with XBMC, so I'm still holding out hope for Plex.

    I've downloaded and reinstalled Plex Media Server, please tell me how to do this use myPlex only for the queue aspect?
  • Chris CChris C Posts: 11,832Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee

    Elan, I realize that there's always the possibility that I'm a complete idiot and somehow got Plex confused with water or oxygen, so thank you for you helpful insight. I absolutely agree with you, I will somehow carry on without Plex should you move forward with insisting that I give you access to my computer.

    Yea! Sarcasm is always useful! Oh, wait... that was sarcastic itself... Hmmm.

    If you want to use Plex and not use the myPlex service, then you're free to do so. Both 5string and Elan mentioned that as an option, which you've somehow twisted to mean "if you don't like it, don't use Plex" - that's not at all what either of them said. If you don't want to use myPlex, then don't sign into it on your Plex Media Server and you won't have to worry at all about possibly sharing your content with anyone.

    It's also worth pointing out that while it might be illegal to download, rip, or share "copyrighted" material where you live, that's not the case everywhere. There are multiple countries where downloading, ripping, and even sharing such content is quite legal.

    I mean, it really comes down to the fact that if something is illegal where you are and you don't want to get in trouble for doing it... well, maybe you shouldn't do it.

    I also have to wonder what the point of asking about this security stuff is if you then just blow off what the actual developers say about it.


    I've downloaded and reinstalled Plex Media Server, please tell me how to do this use myPlex only for the queue aspect?

    The Plex Media Server has nothing to do with your Queue. You add content to your Queue via the bookmarklet and then access it via a Plex client after signing into myPlex in that client.

    Need help? Having trouble?
    » Visit our Support Site for documentation, guides, and more - including the Getting Started section!
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    » Name and Organize your content correctly for best results

    (no private messages for support unless requested, please)

  • elanelan CTO and Co-founder MauiPosts: 9,400Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee
    edited November 2011

    Elan, I realize that there's always the possibility that I'm a complete idiot and somehow got Plex confused with water or oxygen, so thank you for you helpful insight. I absolutely agree with you, I will somehow carry on without Plex should you move forward with insisting that I give you access to my computer.


    I have to assume you're being sarcastic. If you hang out here for a while, you'll learn that we're a friendly and helpful bunch, and sarcasm doesn't work too well on us :)

    Again, just to clarify, nobody is insisting on getting access to your computer. You assumption is completely incorrect, and use of the myPlex service for sharing your server is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL.


    I've downloaded and reinstalled Plex Media Server, please tell me how to do this use myPlex only for the queue aspect?


    Really easy:

    1) Don't sign into myPlex on the server at all.
    2) Sign into myPlex on the client, and it will download your queue.
    3) Profit!

    instagram @elan // the wife's photography site.
    the Medium page // the dog's twitter feed.

  • MildlyConcernedMildlyConcerned Posts: 7Members
    elan wrote:

    You can choose not to use myPlex at all, if it's not interesting or important for you.

    In all fairness, I went to quote this and realized it doesn't say Plex, as I'd originally read it, it says myPlex. That's where my sarcasm spawned. Take the 'my' out, and its a sarcastic statement, and I was replying in kind. Guess I am an idiot after all.

    If you want to use Plex and not use the myPlex service, then you're free to do so.

    The whole point of this post was that I'm under the impression that Laika forces me to use myPlex to share my content. Now you're telling me I can do this without myPlex? Tell me how, we've all got better things to do than this.


    If you don't want to use myPlex, then don't sign into it on your Plex Media Server and you won't have to worry at all about possibly sharing your content with anyone.

    I have no use for Plex without media server. My house has one TV in it, and we use XBMC.

    I also have to wonder what the point of asking about this security stuff is if you then just blow off what the actual developers say about it.

    I'm sorry you feel I'm blowing it off, I feel I'm the only person who's actually raised an eyebrow to this change so I'm speaking up. Really, what this amounts to is that you can tell us all day long how secure it is, but you cannot prove it to us. Would you give me your credit card #, or social security number based simply on me telling you I'm trustworthy? I feel that in order to use updated versions of your software in the same fashion that we did before Laika, we're being asked to just "trust you". and we just simply shouldn't have to. What if it was required to use a Mac or a Windows PC that the login to your computer had to be maintained by Microsoft or Apple, would that be acceptable to you?

    Keep in mind I like Plex, its been very useful most for my in-laws who have an Apple TV2 on the other side of the country that was able to access my collection.

    Again, just to clarify, nobody is insisting on getting access to your computer. You assumption is completely incorrect, and use of the myPlex service for sharing your server is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL

    Simply put, with Laika (which I'm very interested in using) and going forward, how can others access my collection without using myPlex on my server.

    Is it honestly unreasonable that I want to use your product for its intended purpose, or at least what i feel is the most useful feature, without potentially giving you access to all the data on my server? We know it can be done, because you've done it.
  • Chris CChris C Posts: 11,832Members, Plex Employee, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Employee
    To be clear: I'm not an official member of the Plex team or a developer - I'm a Plex user just like you. I simply happen to donate my time on these forums to help other users out.

    It also still makes no sense to me to come posting a thread asking about security questions and then when you get info from one of the developers (Elan) you reply with what is essentially, "thanks, but I can't trust what you say because you're a developer and not impartial". What sort of answer and from whom are you expecting to get it that's going to be acceptable to you?

    Need help? Having trouble?
    » Visit our Support Site for documentation, guides, and more - including the Getting Started section!
    » Attach Log Files when reporting issues // See how to attach files in the forums
    » Name and Organize your content correctly for best results

    (no private messages for support unless requested, please)

  • MildlyConcernedMildlyConcerned Posts: 7Members
    Chris C wrote:

    To be clear: I'm not an official member of the Plex team or a developer - I'm a Plex user just like you. I simply happen to donate my time on these forums to help other users out.

    It also still makes no sense to me to come posting a thread asking about security questions and then when you get info from one of the developers (Elan) you reply with what is essentially, "thanks, but I can't trust what you say because you're a developer and not impartial". What sort of answer and from whom are you expecting to get it that's going to be acceptable to you?

    Thanks for helping out Chris. It's my opinion that my questions haven't actually been answered, and probably won't be. Elan was kind enough to comment and has said using myPlex is optional, and that's good news, now i just need some direction on how to share my content with someone outside my network while using Laika and without using the optional myPlex as he mentioned. I will say that I feel that the Media Server is Plex's singular most useful, and unique feature, which works very well and with which competition is few. The rest of it is just a duplicate of XBMC with possibly some benefits and shortcomings added that I haven't explored. In reality, media center software is everywhere these days and even the one that MS released with Win 7 isn't terrible (i'm sad to admit that).

    Now Chris, assuming you're using myPlex, are you comfortable with knowing that there's that possibility that you could be handing over your entire file system to Plex? (If so, can i hold your ATM card and PIN, i promise I won't use it) Keep in mind that I actually doubt they are, and that even previous to Laika Plex could have been "phoning home" however unlikely it seems. It just seems like an unnecessary risk that the average user probably doesn't consider, and wouldn't even know if their systems had been accessed (i wouldn't). Not stopping to question the things we install is how the virus/malware industry became so prevalent and to borrow from Elan, profitable. Now, before someone barks at me that Plex/myPlex isn't a virus, or malware, or that I'm taking Elan's use of 'profit' out of context, I'm not implying that its either a virus or malware, simply underscoring my belief that this shouldn't be ok and that I really shouldn't be the only one concerned.
  • 5stringdeath5stringdeath Ninja Posts: 1,402Members, Plex Pass, Plex Ninja Plex Ninja
    I could be mistaken, but I believe the old way of tunneling will still work with Laika:

    http://wiki.plexapp.com/index.php/Plex_Nine_RemoteAccess

    Elan's "profit" joke is from Southpark.

    While we're on the subject of trust, it should be noted you changed your username from 'Mystery' right before you started this thread. Don't know why, don't care, its just interesting since you're all about trust and openness.

    As with all things computer related you have to make decisions what you want on your computer. The blog link about security that was posted before was the answer to your question so .. users have to be comfortable with that, trust it and use Plex, or don't and find an alternative. I mean if you're not going to trust anyone you might as well get off the internet :-)

    Running PMS on a 2.6GHz i7 MacMini

    Clients include: 2xRoku, ATV, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPhone 6 (x2), TiVO Bolt, PS4, Sony Android TV, PlexWeb in Chrome, Amazon Fire Stick & Secrets

     

     

  • tobeswsutobeswsu Posts: 2,878Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    Really I find this whole thread to be a bit of a concern troll. Apple and Microsoft may well indeed have backdoors into your computer (via the OS or something like itunes) and use them from time to time. You'd never know for sure unless you spent days analyzing network traffic and could tell which packets were valid update checking, anonymous feedback, etc. And even then you'd only know whether or not they used a backdoor on your machine. They may not enable it and use it on all computers to avoid detection. China may have backdoors in the hardware that they manufacture. If you want to get paranoid, let's get paranoid. You and a couple others have voiced your displeasure with plex's decision to use myplex for connecting to remote servers and I understand a slight trepidtation without an explanation of how myplex works and why it does what it does. That said, I feel Elan has given a perfectly good description in regards to privacy and security. If you don't trust him, well why would you trust that they aren't listening in and calling home with the old method of entering ip addresses manually and manually forwarding ports? I feel myplex is a huge leap forward in enabling the 99% to connect to remote servers rather than the 1% of us who can figure out external/internal ip addresses and forwarding ports on disparate routers.
    ~John T.

    New here? Read the wiki and watch the screencast! You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration! :) If that didn't help, posting log files can help us track down your issue.
  • l-rsl-rs Posts: 177Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass

    myPlex isnt even necessary on your own subnet.


    I wonder about this, maybe someone can clear this up. I have a direct connection with the network of my brother, bridged in such a way that I can see his iTunes shared libary and his Mac Mini (and other devices on his network).

    For iTunes shared library to even work (it uses Bonjour I believe) you must emulate being on the same subnet. However, even though even iTunes is fooled into thinking this is so, I can't see my brother's Plex server. It only works through myPlex.

    Before Laika and myPlex, our data used to go over the tunnel, now it takes the 'outside route'.

    Is there a way to configure Laika to bypass myPlex and let it work like in Nine?
  • tobeswsutobeswsu Posts: 2,878Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited November 2011
    So you were able to see each others' libraries with plex nine but not 9.5? I think the devs switched off bonjour with 9.5 and only use their own protocol, G'Day Mate, now. There are issues with GDM not finding stuff on the local network properly (particularly with double nat and bridging setups like yours) so this is probably related to that. By all means, please hop into the chat room and see if someone can help track down your issue so we can get GDM working even better.
    ~John T.

    New here? Read the wiki and watch the screencast! You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration! :) If that didn't help, posting log files can help us track down your issue.
  • Toffor.ns@gmail.comToffor.ns@gmail.com Posts: 1Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    It is very nice of the developers to have added the MyPlex feature for those who don't know how to / don't want to deal with port forwarding but I would appreciate the old method of connecting without MyPlex to be put back into play. Yes there is the security factor but there is also the fact that as I don't need the crutch of MyPlex there is no reason for me to introduce a point of failure (the MyPlex servers) into my connectivity. I had everything working fine, and unless there is some programmatic reason not to allow access via password protected port forwarded connections I'd appreciate that possibly be returned.
  • plxinplxin Posts: 378Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    edited November 2011
    Post removed.
  • tobeswsutobeswsu Posts: 2,878Members, Plex Pass Plex Pass
    Kristoffor wrote:

    It is very nice of the developers to have added the MyPlex feature for those who don't know how to / don't want to deal with port forwarding but I would appreciate the old method of connecting without MyPlex to be put back into play. Yes there is the security factor but there is also the fact that as I don't need the crutch of MyPlex there is no reason for me to introduce a point of failure (the MyPlex servers) into my connectivity. I had everything working fine, and unless there is some programmatic reason not to allow access via password protected port forwarded connections I'd appreciate that possibly be returned.


    The devs may add a manual option, but until the myplex servers cause an issue I wouldn't worry about them being a point of failure. They're only contacted when signing in on servers and/or clients and when the server publishes every night. So if the servers go down for some reason you'll be fine until your IP address changes.
    ~John T.

    New here? Read the wiki and watch the screencast! You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration! :) If that didn't help, posting log files can help us track down your issue.
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