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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."
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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 @10:35AM (#46908101)

    Imagine a world where privacy is the default setting. Truly mind blowing.

  • by KitFox (712780) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @11:04AM (#46908253)

    Except that in this case it's more accurately "going to a pizza parlor, finding out that they have a little flag in the pepperoni pizza portion of the menu that you can stick on your lawn that says 'I like peperoni pizza', putting that flag on your lawn, and then suing the pizza company for having the lawn flag available."

    Though in reality, r'ing tfa hints that it may hinge more on the fact that the inclusion of a like button on the page at all automatically shares with Facebook the fact that you were even on the page due to referrer information. The 'Like' button itself is not Hulu sharing the data with Facebook, that's the clicker sharing the data with Facebook.

  • by Calavar (1587721) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @03:34PM (#46909647)

    The issue here isn't the stupidity of the users, but the article written by an uninformed author and an equally misleading /. summary.

    The real issue is that whenever a page includes a Facebook like button, it has to reference the requisite Javascript files that are hosted on Facebook servers. So whenever you load a Hulu video page, your browser pings Facebook with information about which Hulu page you are visiting simply to render the button. It doesn't matter whether or not you click the like button: Facebook knows which Hulu page you watched either way. And since Facebook keeps track of this information even when you are logged out of your account [telegraph.co.uk], there is definitely no opt-in on the part of the user. IMHO, this lawsuit is completely justified.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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