New bill to undo Bork-inspired video privacy law
Under the bill people may give a one-time consent to allow a video company like Netflix to share with social media services the names of videos they've watched.
Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 09:30 AM
The ability to share your video faves online stands to get a boost from another bill updating the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988.
The bill, HR6671, was introduced by Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., on Dec. 17 and was approved by the House the following day. Under the bill, which heads to the Senate, people may give a one-time consent to allow a video company like Netflix to share with social media services the names of videos they've watched. Current law requires that a user grant permission each time a video is shared.
The Video Privacy Protection Act, passed after the video rental history of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork appeared in a newspaper, was designed to protect the privacy of video customers. Bork, who died on Dec. 19 at age 85, was known for his view that the Constitution does not establish a right to privacy.
The new bill allows people to a one-time consent to share the videos titles with the public, which for the time being means Facebook, but would apply to other social media outlets or whatever channels a video provider such as Netflix could use.
Similar to a bill passed by the House last year (HR2471), which has now been passed onto the Senate, this new bill contains two additions to address privacy concerns. People must have an obvious way to opt out of sharing at any time, and their one-time consent expires after 24 months; then they would be required to opt-in again to continue sharing the movies and TV shows they've watched.
Privacy advocates, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, opposed loosening the restrictions of the Video Privacy Protection Act .
The bill will move onto the Senate for consideration. It will join HR2471, which now has a big amendment attached to it that would require police to obtain a warrant before accessing all forms of digital communication for those named in a criminal investigation. Government tracking service govtrack.us gives this expanded video/warrant bill a 42 percent chance of passing, while Goodlatte's video-only bill is rated at a 68 percent chance of being enacted.
Even if the Video Privacy Protection Act were to fall, Judge Bork will still have a modicum of influence on Facebook. His son Robert H. Bork Jr. maintains a page for him.
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