Some of the best news this week was when the VPPA was approved by the House. The 1988 bill desperately needed to be updated so that Netflix socialites could share their viewing history on social networks. Now the bill has proven itself to be a fast worker as it’s now on its way to Obama’s desk.
Bloomberg reports that the VPPA has passed the Senate on Thursday thus clearing the way for the bill to be signed into law by President Obama. It would be the end to a fight that was started earlier this year after Netflix had to pay a pretty hefty settlement for being in violation of the decades old law. It would appear that Netflix’ increased spending on lobbyists will not go to waste.
So it looks like the reformed VPPA is going to be passed. What does this mean for the consumer that regularly uses Facebook and Netflix? If the bill gets signed into law, you’ll be able to share your viewing history on social media like Facebook, Twitter and other services. It won’t just be Netflix either. Services like Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video will obviously want a piece of the sharing pie. They get free advertising and you get to tell your friends how obsessed you are with watching reruns of Power Rangers.
It sounds great, but should you be concerned about your privacy? Probably not. The version of the bill that made its way to President Obama’s desk has two important consumer protection clauses. The first clause requires any “video rental service” (i.e. Netflix) to display a “clear and conspicuous” option to stop sharing their viewing data at any and all times. The second clause requires the aforementioned consent to expire after 24 months unless the consumer chooses to opt in again.
It’s very likely that President Obama will sign the updated VPPA into law before Christmas. Netflix probably has a Facebook share option just waiting to go live upon the bill being signed into law. It’s the best Christmas gift the video streaming service could ever ask for.