Sample Essay on HLS Technology Ethical and Privacy Concerns


HTTP Live Streaming (HSL) is a video streaming technology developed by Apple that allows individuals to send audio and video through a web server for playback in Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad or Mac computers and Apple TV. HSL enables individuals using apple devices with iOS 3 and above to send both live and on-demand videos using ordinary HTTP-based technology. HLS works by breaking the live video into a sequence of multiple HTTP based files called chunks usually between 5 to 10 seconds longs. The files are then loaded onto HTTP server when the recipient can access them using their apple media devices (Hoque, 2013).

Since HLS uses HTTP web-based technology, it is capable of traversing different firewalls and proxy servers that allow HTTP traffic. HLS also an encryption mechanism that enables users to protect the video contents shared through the technology. The encryption mechanism allows key access using HTTPS authentication. Nevertheless, HSL does not support Digital Right Management (DRM) hence creating privacy and ethical concerns over the data shared through the platform (Hoque, 2013).

Overall Contribution to the HLS Technology

Since its introduction in 2007, HLS technology has been receiving increasing demand from different types of users. Apple users have been using HLS technology to share video through different media players using the web. The main advantage of HLS is that multiple users can access a single video. This has increased social interaction between friends and families. Mobile phone application developers to advertise their products through videos have also used the technology. For example, Apple requires software developers to put a video of applications sold through Apple store using HLS technology. The application has also been applied in other fields that require video or audio sharing (Tunturipuro, 2015).

Although the HLS technology has been available for more than three years, its potential has not been embraced fully. The HSL can be applied in a wide variety of fields and change the way practitioners do their job on daily basis.  For example, teachers can create teaching videos and share them online through HLs technology. Managers working for multinational companies can use the technology to share videos of their meetings. Businesspersons can use the technology to share business ideas with their counterparts at a far distance (Hoque, 2013).

HSL technology is likely to have major implications for the future of homeland security. Homeland security is one of major security organ in the US that aims at protecting American from external attacks as well as natural disasters. HLS will be helpful to homeland security since it will enable members of the public to share videos on security threats to homeland security agents using the internet. Thus, homeland security will be able to respond faster to security threats. The technology will also harness investigation on various crimes that occur in the US through video sharing from the witnesses (Tunturipuro, 2015).

Alternative to Using the Technology

There are various limitations that limit wide application of HLS technology. According to Müller, Lederer, and Timmerer (2012), one of the major limitations is privacy and ethical concern. Although the technology use encryption and key access authentication, content shared through the platform can infringe the privacy of the use as well as for others. For example, a single video can be shared with multiple users, and these users can redistribute the video hence affecting the privacy of an individual. Ethically, it is also not a moral right to share a video of another person without his or her consent. The video quality shared through HLS technology is also low. To deal with challenges, there are other video streaming platforms that have been developed. One of such application platform is Dynamic Adaptive Streaming (DASH). The technology works in a similar manner as HLS but allows user to record videos in different formats. As a result, the video quality is high and users can access videos using multiple devices and web browsers. It is also easy to record video using DASH than HLS. DASH also is more secure hence protecting the privacy of the content shared through the platform (Müller, Lederer, & Timmerer, 2012).


Hoque, M. (2013). Towards Energy-Efficient Multimedia Streaming to Mobile Devices.

Müller, C., Lederer, S., & Timmerer, C. (2012). An evaluation of dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP in vehicular environments. In Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Mobile Video (pp. 37-42). ACM.

Tunturipuro, I. M. (2015). Building a Low-Cost Streaming System: Streaming and Camera Operating System for Live Internet Productions.