Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy The Media Entertainment

VHS-Era Privacy Law Still Causing Headaches For Streaming Video 62

Posted by timothy
from the again-with-the-like-button dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "The Video Privacy Protection Act, a 1988 law that made it illegal for a video store to share your rental history, has thrown up roadblocks for modern-day streaming video sites. Last year Congress amended the law to make it possible for you to share your Netflix viewing history with your social media friends, as long as you opt in. But what does "opting in" entail? Hulu is now on the receiving end of a lawsuit over the fact that clicking the Facebook "like" button on a viewing page shares that viewing activity on Facebook."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

VHS-Era Privacy Law Still Causing Headaches For Streaming Video

Comments Filter:
  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:36AM (#46908117)

    So our video viewing preferences are rigidly protected by big government but if we want to peaceably assemble to demonstrate and protest we must be confined to a chain-link fenced "free speech zone" in a parking lot somewhere in an out of the way industrial zone.

    More like some Congressman doesn't want his wife to find out about all the midget porn.

    Sort of. This is the "Bork Act" so named because when Robert Bork was nominated to SCOTUS his video rental habits were made public; no doubt causing concern amongst our illustrious members of Congress and Senators that theirs would appear in the next attack when they ran for reelection. hence, the concern for protecting our privacy trumpeted the ability of companies to profit off of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:38AM (#46908129)

    So our video viewing preferences are rigidly protected by big government but if we want to peaceably assemble to demonstrate and protest we must be confined to a chain-link fenced "free speech zone" in a parking lot somewhere in an out of the way industrial zone.

    More like some Congressman doesn't want his wife to find out about all the midget porn.

    TFA: "During debate over his nomination, Bork's video rental history was leaked to the press. His video rental history was unremarkable, and included such harmless titles as A Day at the Races, Ruthless People, and The Man Who Knew Too Much. Writer Michael Dolan, who obtained a copy of the hand-written list of rentals, wrote about it for the Washington City Paper. Dolan justified accessing the list on the ground that Bork himself had stated that Americans only had such privacy rights as afforded them by direct legislation. The incident led to the enactment of the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act."

    I used to think the real moral of the story was that if we want to have privacy, we have to demonstrate that the same technologies that violate our privacy can also have negative political consequences for them.

    Consider this: In 1988, the fact that a Supreme Court Justice Nominee's completely boring video rental list -- and what it implied for the political futures of Congressmen and Senators whose video rental history was, shall we say, not so boring -- absolutely terrified politicians, because politicians could actually lose their seats over scandals.

    Today, when we find out that an anti-gay politician is toe-tapping in a bathroom stall or sexting his underage Congressional pages or is otherwise compromised, we shrug it off and laugh for a day, then vote some other hypocrite into office, but such scandals are no longer national news.

    The only thing that would do it would be a data dump of everything NSA has on sitting Congresspersons. And now I realize that things that would be hit those selectors are probably the only things pre-emptively excluded from the database, because the existance of such records are the only thing that could shut the programme down.

    The real surprise of 1988 was that the Bork controversy happened so fast that they passed a law that protected everyone, not just themselves. They haven't made that mistake since.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:51AM (#46908201) Homepage

    clicking Like shares anything you watched and what you are watching, not just the original video, essentially making your history available without your consent

    Indeed, this shows why we still need the now-amended VPPA.

    The blog author is wrong on this one. The original GigaOm article [gigaom.com] the blog author was commenting on was much more factual.

Real Programmers don't write in PL/I. PL/I is for programmers who can't decide whether to write in COBOL or FORTRAN.

Working...