A Netflix-backed proposal to revise the Video Privacy Protection Act has received a mixed response from the Senate Judiciary Committee. The proposal aims to revise the Act, which currently makes it illegal for users’ private video rental information to be shared without the user’s express consent for each and every video.
The amendment would allow companies like Netflix to secure users’ consent to share information about movie rentals on an ongoing basis.
Leahy, who authored the VPPA, expressed concern that this change would blindside users. “When dominant corporate interests entice a check off in order to receive what may seem like a fun new app or service, they may not be presenting a realistic and informed choice to consumers,” he said.
Netflix’s proposal stems from its desire to partner with Facebook where it can play the now familiar social/share game with users’ video downloads. Some users don’t much care about sharing such information, while others would see it as a serious breach of personal privacy.
Lawmakers are concerned that revising the Video Privacy Protection Act to allow a blanket consent mechanism would allow companies to dishonestly induce users into sharing more private information than they realize.
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