It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Hulu must face claims that it illegally disclosed viewer data to Facebook and a business-analytics service, a federal judge ruled, finding users can recover damages by merely showing that the disclosure occurred.
Joseph Garvey is the lead plaintiff in putative class action that says Hulu "repurposed" its browser cache to let marketing-analysis services store the private data of users.
Source: Courthouse News
Judge Beeler unraveled Hulu's argument Friday, finding that the act "requires only injury in the form of a wrongful disclosure."
"Hulu's main argument - that the word 'aggrieved' in the statute requires an additional injury- does not change the outcome," Beeler wrote.
Illegally disclosing personal information is an "actual injury" in this case, and the plaintiffs could recover damages if the court finds Hulu violated the VPPA, according to the 18-page order.
The Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2710 (2002)) was passed in reaction to the disclosure of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rental records in a newspaper. The Act is not often invoked, but stands as one of the strongest protections of consumer privacy against a specific form of data collection. Generally, it prevents disclosure of personally identifiable rental records of "prerecorded video cassette tapes or similar audio visual material." The Act has several important provisions, including:
- A general ban on the disclosure of personally identifiable rental information unless the consumer consents specifically and in writing.
- Disclosure to police officers only with a valid warrant or court order.
- Disclosure of "genre preferences" along with names and addresses for marketing, but allowing customers to opt out.
- Exclusion of evidence acquired in violation of the Act
- Civil remedies, including possible punitive damages and attorneys fees, not less than $2500.
- A requirement that video stores destroy rental records no longer than one year after an account is terminated.
- The VPPA does not preempt state law. That is, states are free to enact broader protections for individuals' records.