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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."
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VHS-Era Privacy Law Still Causing Headaches For Streaming Video

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:27AM (#46908055)

    This is not a case of an outdated law holding a company from doing a good thing. This is a case of a law being accuratly applied to prevent companies from sharing personal information without any reasonable expectation of assent.

    I mean come on, can anyone say with a straight face that standing in a punlic forumn and saying outloud that you pizza gives pizza hut permission to share your purchase and order history?

  • Fubared priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:28AM (#46908057)

    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.

  • by redelm (54142) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:31AM (#46908081) Homepage

    I, for one, dislike my history being sold to other merchants. Even if it means I pay more for a service, privacy has value. I slways opt-out, but this sort of marketing is deeply invasive and subject to NSA-esque abuse in targetted cases.

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:43AM (#46908153)
    After I RTFA, it appears the author's stance is "you gave Hulu permission by clicking Like, after all Like is supposed to let you tell people what you like. Thus, HULU should not be held responsible under the law for sharing your viewing history." My issue with that is, if I understand what HULU did, is clicking Like shares anything you watched and what you are watching, not just the original video, essentially making your history available without your consent. That is exactly what the law is designed to prevent. I find it a big jump from saying "I Like "Allo Allo S1E4" and taking that is "I consent to let you share my entire viewing history."
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:44AM (#46908159) Journal
    If at all there is something to complain about, it is the fact that we did not use the law to extend VHS rentals to web browsing history and stop sites from storing, selling and buying the browsing history of the visitors. Had we extended this law earlier to logically include all the thing that ought to be private and unstorable by thirdparties and service providers, the world might be a better place today.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:49AM (#46908181)

    If you value your privacy, DON'T USE FACEBOOK YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!


  • by gnupun (752725) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @12:08PM (#46908269)
    Wish this law would be extended to other products and services like DVD purchases, retail purchases, library check outs, grocery purchases, restaurant orders etc.. This law is only a headache, if you're out to commit a crime (invasion of privacy).
  • by gnupun (752725) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:36PM (#46911011)

    Terrorists have replaced communists. The laws you mention are old. One change enacted by the Patriot act was to track library check outs.

    "The Patriot Act gives federal authorities virtually unchecked authority to search our customers' records and raises concern that government is monitoring what people are reading," said ABFFE President Chris Finan. "

    And this:

    Libraries in Santa Cruz, Calif., posted signs warning patrons that the FBI may access the records of what books they borrow.

    From fox news []

    The wholesale tracking of all books is suspicious. What business does the govt have knowing who read the latest Dr. Seuss books? The patriot act should have allowed tracking only those books related to terrorism -- weapon making books, books about extreme violence, etc.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.