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Woman Sues Blockbuster for Facebook Privacy Violations 133

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the looking-for-a-quick-buck dept.
Chris Blanc writes "A Texas woman has sued Blockbuster over its activities relating to Facebook's Beacon tool. The movie rental service has been reporting user activity to Facebook since Beacon launched last November, which the plaintiff says is a violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act."
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Woman Sues Blockbuster for Facebook Privacy Violations

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  • by Skyshadow (508) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:28PM (#23122936) Homepage
    We need more info -- can someone please post her name, address, phone number and video rental preferences?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:38PM (#23123026)
      I believe her name is Debbie, and she's from Dallas. Google should get you the rest.
    • by vil3nr0b (930195)
      She is probably ashamed because Blockbuster keeps sending NC-17 movie flyers to her house.
  • by jmpeax (936370) * on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:28PM (#23122944)
    Social networking sites, and Facebook in particular, seem to be increasingly undesirable.

    Apart from not wanting people such as potential employers to gain access to profiles that are by default made openly accessible, security vulnerabilities [publishing2.com] are particularly worrying, given the fact that social networking accounts often contain detailed personal information in context (i.e. not just a name, but a name connected to a university, email account, other people, images etc.) Add to that advertising schemes that intentionally deliver users' data to third-parties, and you have a dangerous mix, especially considering the average user's lack of awareness regarding safe-guarding personal data [bbc.co.uk].
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:42PM (#23123066) Homepage Journal
      I saw this in part when adding an app means that the app has access to all your profile information. It's either all or nothing, no way to add restrictions.

      OK, Facebook has access to my information, but I don't see why third party developers have to have it. I also don't put much information on there. I just have to assume that any information in my profile is going to be available to anyone, even if I put up restrictions and limitations, so I'm careful what I put up there.
      • Yea, I saw that too. This is why I don't have one single app installed. That and all the retardedness they cause...
      • by porcupine8 (816071) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:10PM (#23123766) Journal
        I just have to assume that any information in my profile is going to be available to anyone, even if I put up restrictions and limitations, so I'm careful what I put up there.

        Exactly. My face book is under my real name, with real information. I don't put anything on it that I wouldn't want my professors/bosses to see (because they're on my friends list!), which pretty much means anything I wouldn't want the entire world to see.

        I have blogs and accounts on other sites that are less connected to my IRL identity. Sure, people who know me could probably figure out it was me, but my name is not on them, nor is any identify information like what college I went to or what year I graduated from high school. I can be a little more free, but I'm still reasonably careful because I know that if ANYONE can connect that to the real me, they can tell others.

        • Not sure whether you realise but, as of recently, you can control exactly who can see what of your profile. Risks should be minimised if you have a private profile and don't let anyone but your proper friends see your drunken photographs and so on.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CSMatt (1175471)
            And what if one of your friends later interns at a company that you plan on working for? If the boss knows that your friend has Facebook access to you, he could demand that it be printed out and given to him. Given the choice between disloyalty and unemployment, I would say most would pick disloyalty, especially in our current economic situation.
            • What's the problem? It sounds like you've just found a place you don't want to work and a friend you no longer want to have. Win-win.
              • by TheLink (130905)
                Because he would still rather work at that place - just like that "disloyal" friend would too.

                And given "our current economic situation" maybe even if that place is filled with disloyal friends and crappy bosses.

                Go figure :).
          • Isn't this the place that decided out of the blue to show everybody everything that their friends were doing? If it's in their hands, better be sure you trust those hands.
          • Not sure whether you realise but, as of recently, you can control exactly who can see what of your profile. Risks should be minimised if you have a private profile and don't let anyone but your proper friends see your drunken photographs and so on.

            But there are potential security concerns here. Much like that MySpace crack where it spidered all the pictures marked "private" from thousands of accounts and posted them for everyone to see. Basically, you have to assume that anything you post on the Internet
            • by CSMatt (1175471)
              There's also the problem of how your friends present themselves on Facebook, and how that can negatively reflect upon you as a person - even if your own profile is "clean." Policing their profiles would be unreasonable. Aside from being a complete invasion of your friends' right to make decisions (even stupid ones) for themselves, the sheer amount of people on the average Facebook user's friends list makes it impossible to actively make sure that your friends aren't making asses out of themselves. The "
      • by pbhj (607776)

        I don't see why third party developers have to have it

        Erm, that's what facebook sell. They "sell" your details to app developers in return for their apps. The more adopted the app, the more data mining they can do (more people that is).

        In turn the apps generate more page views, which generates more "ad" revenue.

        You're not really that naive, are you?

        The devs sell your details then to spammers/scammers (or the service agents of spammers and scammers) so they can either target spam or match up the rest of your details with the government leaked SSID (NINO in the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) *
      While you have a point, they can be fun if you use them the correct way. It's kind of like creating ghost Amazon.com accounts and searching for really f-ed up stuff, or just opposites (Marilyn Manson/Britney Spears, etc...), then going to your main page to see what they recommend for you. Same thing with FaceBook and the like... except there you have to be careful not to get on a government watch list by watching too many Michael Moore movies and because you're like 30 and have nothing but 13 year olds on
    • They are just a fad and will fade away just like TV and the Web did. Oh wait...

      I'm afraid social networking sites are here to stay, unfortunately. I agree with a lot of people here that at least currently they are insecure and have few if any redeeming qualities. However, an entire generation or two is growing up using them. It's going to be a hard habit to break. Maybe the fad part will wear off some but they are probably here to stay.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I am astonished how otherwise intelligent people never stop to think how easy it is to "anonymize" their Facebook accounts but still have their close friends recognize them. For example, when creating an account:

      * Use a nickname instead of your real name.
      * Use a disposable email account.
      * Don't bother filling out info like, phone numbers, home address, gender, relationship details.
      * Don't fill out any other sensitive info, or use fake, or humorous data only your friends would understand.
      * Make use of FB's
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by denmarkw00t (892627)
      Social networking sites, and Facebook in particular, seem to be increasingly undesirable.

      I concur - and it doesn't help that I haven't had much desire to do any social networking lately, save for a quick check-in if I was expecting something. I cleared my Facebook account of most information and limited my applications to a handful (photos, events, the stuff that isn't so invasive) and tightened my privacy. There were a lot of changes to what was public and how public that I missed in my absence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chrispalasz (974485)
      I find this article particularly interesting because I had the same problem and complaint.

      Less than a month ago I signed up for Blockbuster Online, which I've tried before and liked. Suddenly I'm getting all this Facebook spam from blockbuster asking me to approve their request to tell the world every single movie I'm renting.

      I didn't click any check box giving Blockbuster permission to access any of my Facebook information. Not only that, but I had to go to the Blockbuster website and find out HOW t
      • "In the end, Blockbuster (from their online store site) told me to use the Facebook option to block their website from accessing my profile if I didn't want their spam."

        I don't do Facebook so I don't know if they tell you in their TOS that they allow Blockbuster to feed off their profiles. Here's a large portion of the problem. The link between them is not plainly and obviously stated in a way to catch attention and then, once you identify the issue, the solution is also buried. We live in a world of obf
    • Well, I don't use these sites, so maybe I'm talking out the arse. But the way I see it, the root of all evil isn't that they're social networking sites. It's that they're run by evil fucks who have no qualms about raping your privacy for a quick buck. And have found equally evil fucks (e.g., Blockbuster) who cheerfully ignore not just your privacy, but also the law, in their race for more effective advertising. I.e., again for a buck.

      There's nothing to say that other sites couldn't do the same, other than p
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:30PM (#23122964) Homepage

    Blockbuster's user agreement includes a wavier of your rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act. That's why I don't shop there.

    • Wow, that is a hell of a waiver.
    • by PingXao (153057)
      I'm not a member but I sometimes go in to browse the new releases while my roommate looks for something to rent. They better not use my picture without my permission. Those rights are available, at a price, and I never waived anything.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Blockbuster's user agreement includes a wavier of your rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act.
      Boy, that is bad. All my local video rental place makes you sign away is your first-born.
    • by HaeMaker (221642)
      That sounds "unconscionable"!

      As in "unconscionable contract".

      Sorry, Ralph, "unpossible".
    • by ark1 (873448) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:54PM (#23123168)
      Just beacause it is in the contract does not mean it is legal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Very true. Most "good" clickwraps and T&C statements (check any video game manual) will mention that their agreement does not override your individual state's rights like warranty or right to sue.

        Government can and does legislate power to the people... as well as taking it away. :-)

        And even if something is illegal across the board, you still have to go to court to argue it. I begin to wonder if American parents have to give their children a seperate allowance for laywers' fees.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:57PM (#23123198)


      Blockbuster's user agreement includes a wavier of your rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act. That's why I don't shop there.

      not sure how it works in the U.S.A, but here in New Zealand, you *cannot* contract yourself out of the law. e.g: if an employment contract you sign states you waive the right to opt out of working on public holidays, that clause does not apply. Surely you'd have something similar in the states?

      • I was hesitant to post, but seeing yours, I believe we do. Not a lawyer, forgot where I heard it and can't seem to find a source, so take it as you will.
      • by Venner (59051)
        In the USA, "freedom to contract" tends to trump. However, you generally can't contract out of criminal laws, nor laws passed under the auspices of a state's general police powers (health, public welfare & safety, etc.) This might be valid as a waiver of a statutorily created right (I mean, you can even waive many constitutional rights), but I'd certainly argue it being unconscionable.
        Uneven bargaining power, the reason they ask you to waive it in the first place (entirely to their benefit, against an a
        • by pbhj (607776)
          >>> you can even waive many constitutional rights

          Like what? What good is a constitution if your employer just says "sign this":

          "I waive all rights under the law, my employer now owns me"

          Then goes off to put all your possessions on ebay ...
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sumdumass (711423)
            There are limitations to what can and can't be done. Some contracts limit your free speech forbid you to run for public office while employed, demand arbitration instead of lawsuits, limit legal jurisdiction to some far away home office location where they already purchased the judges and so on.

            I remember reading about a court case a while back where it said some things in contracts like that become null if it is universal a requirement for employment. This is especially true when there is a law of some sor
          • by TheLink (130905)
            I'm starting to think that they should make it illegal for people to put such terms in contracts.

            Employment contracts have started getting more and more unreasonable and crap in the past few decades.

            A sufficiently high level of unreasonableness and crapness is indistinguishable from evil.

            They often say "Oh it's nothing, the company will never do that", "Oh that's just our standard contract", or bullshit like that.

            Slavery was abolished years ago, but they're now reintroducing it in employment contracts every
          • by kelnos (564113)
            For example, in the US, you can waive your 5th amendment right of protection from self-incrimination [wikipedia.org] by agreeing to testify in a criminal case in which you are the defendant.
    • by TheRedSeven (1234758) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:05PM (#23123266) Homepage
      Parent is not correct, at least according to the website:

      From the privacy policy [blockbuster.com]

      Legal Notices--Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988. Blockbuster supports the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and will use reasonable commercial efforts to require employee and business partner compliance with the Act.
      Now, that's pretty vague, but if you take it at face value (HAH!), it would imply that they don't have you waive your rights under this law.

      However, they do have some pretty crappy privacy when it comes to any comments you post to their website (ratings and such): From the TOS [blockbuster.com]:

      Content submitted to blockbuster.com (including your name) will not be confidential and may be published or disclosed in Blockbuster's sole discretion, without any compensation to you.

      By submitting Content, you grant Blockbuster the right to use your submitted name in connection with your Content.
      I may just be going back to Netflix...
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by canajin56 (660655)
        Doesn't slashdot publish your content (including your username) at its sole discression, without any compensation to you?
      • by Valar (167606)
        So if you post comments on their website, they (*gasp*) post them? They use your name if you give it to them? I CERTAINLY HOPE NO OTHER WEBSITES FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THIS! TEH END OF TEH NETS!
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday April 18, 2008 @06:06PM (#23123268)
      Your right to privacy on video rental records used to be dictated by what ever agreement you had or lacked. But then Robert Bork was nominated to the supreme court. At that time a reporter obtained his video rental history and published it. The politically charged backlash created a federal law mandating the privacy of those records.

      In otherwords, video rental records have a protected status that is federally recognized. it's not the same as most other information about you. it might even be more protected than your credit history!

      Now this is a civil suit ($$$) not a prosecution, so that law is only out there saying what the standard of conduct expected of blockbuster is and is not a direct factor in the trial. I would guess that block busters agreements reasonably allow them to share your data with 3rd party business affiliates or for purposes of debt collection. However, I think the expectation is that your records are not public records.

      Facebook might be the loosely defined bussiness affiliate, but most people would probably say it's public. And you did not really intend to direct them to share your borrowing records, nor at the time you agreed with facebook to share certain data could you have anticipated that blockbuster would become a bussiness affiliate. They really needed to negotiate that with you.

      finally just because you sign a "wavier" does not mean you cannot sue. As I understand it, you can never sign away your right to sue. The wavier simply makes it hard to win.

      I note that recently Netflix ran into a problem too. Their supposedly anonymized rental records used in their contest to improve movie selection turns out to have enough information content that clever googling can re-associate names with a large fraction of the people in the data base. (e.g. they mention movies they watched somewhere on the web and this can be correlated). Some group in texas actually did the reverse calculations and showed it worked.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by TubeSteak (669689)

        finally just because you sign a "wavier" does not mean you cannot sue. As I understand it, you can never sign away your right to sue. The wavier simply makes it hard to win.

        I imagine the "waiver" you sign as part of your Blockbuster membership (assuming it's in there) would constitute the "express, written consent" required by the Video Privacy Protection Act.

        Which would mean you've signed away your right to sue under that law.

        What this really shows is that even opt-in laws can be easily bypassed by burying the opt-in amongst other small legal language and not making it a separate issue.

        • I imagine the "waiver" you sign as part of your Blockbuster membership (assuming it's in there) would constitute the "express, written consent" required by the Video Privacy Protection Act.

          Which would mean you've signed away your right to sue under that law.

          2710. Wrongful disclosure of video tape rental or sale records
          (b) Video Tape Rental and Sale Records.
          (2) A video tape service provider may disclose personally identifiable information concerning any consumer
          (B) to any person with the infor

          • by sumdumass (711423)
            It took me a minute to see what you were getting at. But right as I was about to ask you which part didn't allow it, I noticed the Informed written consent part of b-2-B would make it illegal to hide it in with a bunch of other junk and it is apparent that it needs to be done when the disclosure is planned to happen.

            I guess the question might be how obfuscated could the wording actually be before it isn't an informed consent and how would we define the "time disclosure is sought"? If it means some time befo
    • by fishbowl (7759)
      And that is exactly why "she is suing", and why we aren't reading about the Texas Attorney General bringing a case before the grand jury to indict Blockbuster's board for breaking the law.

      It's also why Harris' class-action suit won't be heard. The class is defined as a group among those who have waived their rights. Nobody in the class is entitled to damages, so they cannot prevail.
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        After viewing the law, I don't think you can waive your rights on this one. It [cornell.edu] specifically says they must get your informed, written consent from the consumer, at the time the disclosure is sought. But more appropriately, it specifically banns the disclosure of any personally identifiable information concerning any consumer then lists specific ways it is allowed.

        I think the informed part means they can't hide it in some terms of service legalese in an attempt to obfuscate it. I think the written consent me
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:33PM (#23122986)
    I wouldn't expect anything else.

    What do you think all this credit card tracking and online accounts and frequent-buyers club bullshit is about?

    It is all for companies to be able to direct their advertising more effectively. That is their incentive in providing these tools.

    If you don't like this sort of intrusion into your lives, then why not take control of your own governance [metagovernment.org] and change things?
  • FaceBook is evil. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:38PM (#23123030)
    These first generation social networks are going to be the source of a lot of regret. We can only hope that the damage is minimal and that the lessons are learned quickly.

    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:49PM (#23123134) Homepage Journal
      I hope people realize everyone does stupid shit sometimes and we can get over it.
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I hope people realize everyone does stupid shit sometimes and we can get over it.
        Tell that to the hiring mgr. or HR person. And these days, just to apply to a job, you have to provide your SSN (Not just Government, Home Depot and other corps).

        It doesn't really matter if they personally don't have a problem but if they perceive that their customers will, then you're SOL.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        That's more likely.

        A society where everyone pretty much knows whats going on with their friends/aquantences without all this victorian privacy bullshit sounds much more healthy.. and that's what's happening, slowly.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kingrames (858416)
          What?
          are you serious?
          When I want privacy I'm not talking about people not seeing the legs of the dinner table.

          I'm talking about people not being able to track:
          how often I go to the bathroom
          where I live
          What movies I watch
          how much gas is left in the tank of my car
          how much gas I use driving to work
          how much gas I use during the week

          And it's not because those things are important.
          It's because of powerful mathematical functions and formulas that can derive, from that, exactly where I hang out with friends, and wh
        • by pavon (30274) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:49PM (#23124054)
          It's not my friends/acquaintances that I'm worried about. And frankly I think the "more information / better communication will make us will make us more tolerant" line is wishful thinking. There have always been groups on the edge of society that were harshly treated if their (harmless) habits were exposed. Mutually Assured Destruction doesn't help in those cases - the majority may redefine all the sins that the majority commits to be socially acceptable, but not the minority sins.

          Furthermore, I don't really buy the idea that lack of privacy is something that is good for society. Your relationship with your customers is not the same as the one with your boss or coworkers or parents or friends or spouse or kids. It's not so much that I want to keep things secret so much as I want them to be presented in context, which is why we tend to only share private aspects of our life when we think someone knows us well enough to understand them. People will always be unduly influenced by first impressions - it's fundamental psychology, not culture - and so I think this compartmentalization of our personal lives will always be valuable to some extent.

          Even if this generation becomes more tolerant, the previous generation is still going around for quite some time, and will have disproportionate control of politics and business for that time. Most of the benefits that result from this newfound lack of privacy will take a full generation to come to fruition, whereas the damage it causes can be felt now.

          Finally, even if society becomes less judgmental in personal life, there will always be profit/power motive in using your information against you. I don't trust the government or the insurance companies to look the other way when given info they can use against me, and if history is any indication, governments and corporations will aways be untrustworthy.

          So, I really don't think this Victorian judgment bullshit is going away anytime soon, and I'll keep my Victorian privacy till then thank-you-very-much :)
          • Look around. The younger generation is doing just as much harm or even more so (Anonymous anyone?) than the older in terms of privacy. Don't delude yourself that once they're gone it'll be all peaches and cream.
        • I bet you've never read Les Miserables. Sometimes what's in someone's past is best left there.
    • by SRA8 (859587) on Friday April 18, 2008 @07:31PM (#23123942)
      I think people clearly see the danger of this beacon feature abstractly. But like me provide two examples that may show the problems in more context:

      Example 1: Man buys book "How to Quit Your Job and get a Better Job for Dummies". His employer sees it on his profile and passes on the man for a job promotion, why promote someone who is looking to quit.
      Example 1a: Same as above but man was buying the book for a friend unhappy with job. Man wanted his friend to find a job as enjoyable as his own.

      Example 2: Man buys a book "Surviving AIDS" for a college project. His neighbors now think he has AIDS.
      Example 2a: Man gets AIDS 10 years later. Denied for treatment by health insurance company as a pre-existing condition, based on his purchasing the book 10 years ago.
      • by CSMatt (1175471)
        The overall message you are trying to convey is one that should be taken very seriously, but these two examples are pretty poor.

        Example 1a: Buy the book with cash. Don't buy anything on credit/debit that you don't want traced back to you.
        Example 2a: Who as AIDS (not just HIV, full AIDS) for over 10 years? I was always under the assumption that AIDS victims didn't last longer than 5 years.
        • I was always under the assumption that AIDS victims didn't last longer than 5 years.
          Nah, with today's treatment I'm pretty sure you can live with full-blown AIDS for decades.
        • by codegen (103601)
          How do you buy a book with cash off the internet? To the best of my knowledge amazon does not have a COD option. Do you have to rent a post office box just to buy a book? I suppose that the smaller book stores might be willing to order in special for you, but those stores are getting harder and harder to find.

          • by CSMatt (1175471)
            Barnes and Noble, perhaps?
            • by codegen (103601)
              Nope. At least I couldn't find any option to buy with cash from them either. Just lots of assurances on how safe it is to give them your CC number.
              • by CSMatt (1175471)
                Really? I've never bought anything at Barnes and Noble, but so far pretty much every brick-and-mortar store I've even been to doesn't mind if I pay them in cash.
        • by SRA8 (859587)

          The overall message you are trying to convey is one that should be taken very seriously, but these two examples are pretty poor. Example 1a: Buy the book with cash. Don't buy anything on credit/debit that you don't want traced back to you. Example 2a: Who as AIDS (not just HIV, full AIDS) for over 10 years? I was always under the assumption that AIDS victims didn't last longer than 5 years.

          Having to unnecessarily change all their online habits is exactly what people shouldn't have to do (if they even know better.)

          Magic Johnson went public with his HIV+ status in 1991. [wikipedia.org]

  • Regardless of what is happening, i doubt facebook will every retire beacon. It will end up being fairly profitable for them. In fact, based on their CPM, that is probably the most profitable part of their business, and its the part that pisses off their users the most.

    Really, when will mass market social network like facebook ever turn a profit? The only way to do that is to open the gates to their walled gardens. The only walled garden sites that really and truly make money are subscription based ones w

  • Interesting... part of the issue seems to be that the opting out happens at the Facebook side.

    These fixes should relieve any concerns in Harris' lawsuit, right? Wrong. There is a difference between reporting the data to Facebook and publishing it to a user's news feed by default, and Blockbuster is still engaged in the former.

    It seems that if your two accounts are linked, there's no way to stop Blockbuster from sending the data to Facebook; only your feed preferences keep it from popping up.
  • by TheRedSeven (1234758) on Friday April 18, 2008 @05:54PM (#23123176) Homepage
    Parent is not correct, at least according to the website:

    From the privacy policy [blockbuster.com]

    Legal Notices Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988. Blockbuster supports the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and will use reasonable commercial efforts to require employee and business partner compliance with the Act.
    Now, that's pretty vague, but if you take it at face value (HAH!), it would imply that they don't have you waive your rights under this law.

    However, they do have some pretty crappy privacy when it comes to any comments you post to their website (ratings and such): From the TOS [blockbuster.com]:

    Content submitted to blockbuster.com (including your name) will not be confidential and may be published or disclosed in Blockbuster's sole discretion, without any compensation to you. Blockbuster may, but is not obligated to, respond to any Content.

    By submitting Content, you grant Blockbuster the right to use your submitted name in connection with your Content.
    • Drat. That's supposed to be in response to Animats post. I'll repost there.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      That's just normal bolierplate. It basically means 'You post on a public forum, your problem.'. I run a few hobby lists and they have something pretty similar when signing up. I didn't used to, until some idiot threatened to sue because my *public* mailing list sent his message to all the subscribers (imagine that!) and I refused to travel around the world personally deleting each copy off everyone's machines, google, the wayback machne, etc...
  • If my name is Abrahamo Lincolni and there are forty Abrahamo Lincolni's on Facebook, how would beacon reliably link the Blockbuster account to the account on Facebook? IP? CC? Address? Email address? Those seem unreliable since the user can enter different info on different sites.

    Or does the user have to manually link the two accounts together for beacon to work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you are signed in to your Facebook account, Beacon is running. If you then go to Blockbuster to do anything on their site, Beacon associates your FB account (the specific Abrahamo Lincolni that is you, and none of the other 39 Abe's on FB) with your Blockbuster account, and reports that association to Blockbuster.

      If you didn't log out of FB before closing that tab, Beacon is (I'm pretty sure) still running, and will still do the same thing when you log into Blockbuster or any other Beacon merchant.

      Anyon
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Here's how:

      Beacon is a cookie.

      You log in to Facebook, cookie is placed. You later log out of Facebook, do other stuff on your computer.

      Then, you log into Blockbuster.
      Beacon stores info about what you do in your Blockbuster account (e.g., rented [movie]).

      The next time you log into Facebook, Beacon tells Facebook the information it's stored.

      And that's how it knows; no special input needed on the user's part.
    • Well, luckily for you, if you're Abrahamo Lincolni, you're the only one.

      http://www.facebook.com/srch.php?nm=Abrahamo+lincolni [facebook.com]

      They should have no trouble tracking you.

      • by CSMatt (1175471)
        1. There's two listings in the search results.
        2. You don't know if there are any others who opted out of public search listings.
  • but this is about information leaked that wasn't even published.

    Beacon had also ruined surprise presents that had been purchased online by publishing them to Facebook.
    How gross is that? For blockbuster to not predict the reprocutions of this tells me they deserve to get destroyed by Netflix.
  • (b) Examples of Facebook Site Information. The Facebook Site Information may include, without limitation, the following information, to the extent visible on the Facebook Site: your name, your profile picture, your gender, your birthday, your hometown location (city/state/country), your current location (city/state/country), your political view, your activities, your interests, your musical preferences, television shows in which you are interested, movies in which you are interested, books in which you are

  • Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits "video tape service providers" from allowing third parties to access personally identifiable information about someone's renting or buying habits without their express, written consent. (The law was enacted in 1988 after a newspaper published records of 146 videos that Judge Robert Bork had rented during his consideration for a Supreme Court vacancy.)

    It always comes down to this. Protection laws like this only get enacted when they, the law makers themselves, are affected. As it stands now the corporations have their ear. If this was to happen in 2008 they would have ban, not the corporation, but Facebook.

    -[d]-

  • The FBI getting a librarian to tell them what you have been reading, well, that's obviously evil. But this is business-to-business. Isn't it great to see free and unbridled libertarian capitalism? I mean, hey, who's forcing her to use Blockbuster?

    On the other hand, can it really be that the Reagan era schooled generation is starting to see that corporations _can_ be evil?

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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