Senate to Allow Netflix Habits on Facebook - The UpStream

Senate to Allow Netflix Habits on Facebook

posted Sunday Jul 29, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Senate to Allow Netflix Habits on Facebook

While Facebook's Timeline may have almost everything, one thing suspiciously missing is the ability to post your Netflix rental history automatically. Since people seem to enjoy sharing every aspect of their lives with their fringe acquaintances, then why would Facebook and Netflix not allow you to do the same with the movies and TV shows you watch?

The answer is simple: it's against the law. Yes, you read that right: there is a federal law prohibiting you from sharing your watch history from Netflix onto Facebook. More specifically, a law currently on the books prevents a video rental service from sharing your rental history. The law was passed after the Washington City Paper published a list of videos rented by Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork during his nomination process. Congress was so concerned by the privacy breach that the law was passed quickly to prevent their colleagues and the rest of the nation from this type of breach.

Will this law stand forever or will we one day be able to let one of the last private pieces of our lives out of our control? Hit the break for more.

Netflix has spent nearly $400,000 so far this year lobbying Congress to amend the law allowing them to share your rental history with Facebook, with your permission. Their General Counsel, David Hyman, said before Congress,

Instead of trying to graft specific notions about video privacy from almost 25 years ago into the dynamic information age of today, we would encourage a measured and holistic review of privacy for the 21st century, one designed to foster continued innovation while balancing the desires and privacy expectations of consumers.

There is no telling if this law, which singles out a single type of data to prevent sharing, will be amended, but in an age of increased information sharing, it doesn't make sense to single out this single industry any longer. There has got to be a line allowing those of us who want to keep our private lives private while allowing those who enjoy sharing details of every aspect of their lives to do so.

If Netflix allowed you to link to Facebook, would you do it, or would you prefer to keep that private? Let us know in the comments.

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