Back in February, video rental service Netflix paid a hefty fine for violating the Video Privacy Protection Act, by keeping rental logs on all of its users who cancelled their subscriptions. Netflix asserted that they kept the records just in case a user might resubscribe, to better direct its recommendation algorithm, which presently guides roughly 75% of viewership.
There had yet to be any word on whether or not Netflix had changed any of its policies, after settling fot $9 million in court - though now it's been revealed in a U.S. District Court filing on Friday that the company will delete rental histories of all clients, within a year after they unsubscribe. The filing also showed that Netflix will be paying $6.75 million to several privacy organizations, and $2.25 million to the lawyers who filed the case. Both parties seek to have Judge Edward Davila approve the settlement by June 29.
Interestingly, the Video Privacy Protection Act was made into law in by President Reagan in 1988, after a newspaper posted Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s rental history from Blockbuster during his Congressional approval hearings.
As for users who decide to resubscribe to Netflix, it appears that they will just have to start from scratch regarding their general pool of movie preferences.