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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Congress Quietly Grants Movie Companies Permission to Publicly Share Your Terrible Taste in Movies

Posted by on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Fucking Christ, of course this happens the week I decide to watch Act of Valor back-to-back with the Olsen twins Christmas classic, To Grandmother's House We Go:

Last Tuesday, the Senate quietly altered a key privacy law, making it much easier for video streaming services like Netflix to share your viewing habits. How quietly? The Senate didn't even hold a recorded vote: The bill was approved by unanimous consent. (Joe Mullin of Ars Technica was among the first to note the vote.)

Here's what changed. For the last twenty-four years, ever since a local reporter easily obtained failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rental records without his consent, the law has required video rental companies to get your permission each and every time they share information about the movies you rent or buy. Although Bork himself had no respect for the idea of a constitutional right to privacy, part of his legacy ended up being one of the strongest privacy-related laws in the country.

As of last week, that's all in the past: Video streaming companies that want to share your data now only need to ask for your permission once. After that, they can broadcast your video-watching habits far and wide for up to two years before having to ask again.


Comments (12) RSS

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Karlheinz Arschbomber 12
...and in the same legislative sweep, the gov't now has the complete right to warrantless email searches.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber on December 27, 2012 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Thank goodness! I've been wondering for years why I couldn't crosspost my Netflix-stream the same as I can all my Foursquare checkins.
Posted by zimtschnecke on December 27, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Oh no, they made approving a thing you were going to approve anyway much more convenient and less annoying for you. Better bitch about it on your work blog!
Posted by suddenlyorcas on December 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 9
Great. Now everyone's Facebook feed is going to be full of Netflix spam.
Posted by keshmeshi on December 27, 2012 at 11:52 AM · Report this
@3 I'm betting the Utah delegation watches the most porn.…
Posted by StuckInUtah on December 27, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
I have argued that any personal data I emit is essentially a type of "creative work". That is, while it may be broadcast, at the same time it's automatically covered by copyright laws, which require no more than that I attach my name to a work to be in effect. This happens before any other right that I do not voluntarily "sell" comes into effect. For example, even if a blog or social media site says that they "own" anything I put there, that happens after the copyright goes into effect, which is the moment I create the work.

The financial implications of this are obvious.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 27, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
That's right, keep trying to compete with pirated downloads by making the legit product less convenient and more intrusive.
Posted by pox on December 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
@1, I don't believe that's what that was. The bill specifically says Netflix (or whoever) is forbidden from making a general terms acceptance into a sharing acceptance - FWIW Congress has forced them to get consent only by making a separate, explicit request to you. For what it's worth here is Netflix's current Facebook policy - you can log on to your account and see what, if anything, you have agreed to about Facebook and rescind it if so.
For members located in certain countries, if you connect your Netflix account to Facebook, we will access information about you and your Facebook friends on an on-going basis, unless you disconnect. We will import, use, disclose and retain this information to, among other things, customize and improve the Netflix service for you, your friends and others. In addition, by connecting your Netflix account to Facebook, we will automatically post your activity to Facebook, including what you watched. At present, we offer you the option of not sharing individual titles by using the “don’t share/unshare” feature which is available on most devices. Your friends and others who have access to view information about you on Facebook will also be able to see (on Facebook and on Netflix) that you're a Netflix member as well as what you've watched, and other information about your use of the Netflix service. You’ll also be able to see similar information about your Facebook friends who are connected with Netflix. Please note that Facebook will import, use and retain this information. See Facebook's privacy policy for details, including how they treat information. You can disconnect from sharing future information by visiting "Your Account." You may also control how certain information is shared in your Privacy Settings on Facebook. Please note that your privacy settings on Facebook do not control information disclosure on Netflix. As a result, if you choose to connect your Facebook and Netflix accounts and enable sharing, then all of your Facebook friends who are also connected will be able to see your Netflix activity when they use Netflix, unless you choose to hide a specific title. We and Facebook are continually making changes and improvements to this feature, and therefore the available features and information that are shared may change from time to time. These changes may take place without notice to you and may not be described here or in the Terms of Use.
Posted by gloomy gus on December 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
And on the plus side.....…

(This may actually be important for computer users to take a moment to familiarize themselves with.)
Posted by sgt_doom on December 27, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Does this mean we can publish the porn viewing habits of congress soon?
Posted by DJSauvage on December 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Cienna, if you track back to the bill itself, it has a clause allowing the consumer to withdraw consent at any time. So even if, when Netflix asks you if you want to tell Facebook what you've been watching, you're dumb enough to say "yes", you can at any time go say a binding "no" to stop the sharing if peer pressure from folks at the artisanal cupcakery gets too fierce. It's not a long bill. Here is its entirety:
Section 2710(b)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the following:
`(B) to any person with the informed, written consent (including through an electronic means using the Internet) of the consumer that--
`(i) is in a form distinct and separate from any form setting forth other legal or financial obligations of the consumer;
`(ii) at the election of the consumer--
`(I) is given at the time the disclosure is sought; or
`(II) is given in advance for a set period of time, not to exceed 2 years or until consent is withdrawn by the consumer, whichever is sooner; and
`(iii) the video tape service provider has provided an opportunity, in a clear and conspicuous manner, for the consumer to withdraw on a case-by-case basis or to withdraw from ongoing disclosures, at the consumer's election;'.…
Posted by gloomy gus on December 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this
Pick1 1
Awh...fuck that's why Netflix had a new "Approve our Terms and Conditions" thing yesterday.

Now people are going to know that I watched Bring It On Again that one night.
Posted by Pick1 on December 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this

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