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Netflix new social sharing features waiting on President Obama

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Netflix new social sharing features waiting on President Obama
If you've ever wondered why Netflix doesn't have options to share what you watch, the answer is in a law from 1988 called the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which makes it illegal for companies to share customer video rental information, even with consent. Well, that law is getting a tweak, and is now just waiting on President Obama's signature.

Netflix added an option to connect your Netflix account to Facebook last year, but the only region where the feature wasn't allowed was the US, because of the VPPA. Now, there is the Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act of 2012 which passed through the Senate on December 21st, and passed the House on December 26th, and now is just waiting on President Obama to sign it into law. 

With the Amendments Act, Netflix will be able to share viewing habits of consenting users, meaning sharing via Facebook, Twitter, and maybe Google+ as well. Video providers will have to get “informed, written consent" of users, and users will be able to remove consent at any time on a “case-by-case" basis, or per video basis

Interestingly, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) had tried to put an unrelated rider on this bill which would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant in order to access user emails older than 6 months, but that version of the bill has not passed Congress yet. Email privacy has become something of a hot-button issue after the recent scandal involving now retired General David Petraeus.

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posted on 27 Dec 2012, 11:43 4

1. PAPINYC (Posts: 2185; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


It would be really pathetic if the Prez' signs this before resolving the fiscal crisis!!

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 12:55 7

2. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


The Pres can't resolve the fiscal crisis until Congress passes an agreement. The 30 seconds it would take to sign this bill won't change that.

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 14:32 2

6. PAPINYC (Posts: 2185; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


The Prez' has more power than you think, he just has something up his sleeve; which he will "heroically" unveil at the 11th hour, especially to make the "opposition" aka the Republicans look bad.
My point above was, there are far more pressing matters in our country than whether, or not, strangers get to see what our video streaming habits are, even if it only takes a 30-second signature.

Admit it Michael, you're just happy to see me back after my week of banishment and that's why you were COMPELLED to reply. But, I digress, the Prez' will exercise his "Special Powers" on December 31st (he may even wait until January 1st). Now, I'm not saying that he's going to run into a phone booth and fly out or that he's going to spin clockwise until he explodes and changes into a Red, White, Blue and Gold bathing suit but, he will do something.

Happy New Year Michael (just in case I get banned [again] before the 31st)!! lol :D

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 16:34 4

9. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I took the last week off for the holidays, so I can't say I noticed you had gone. Hope the holidays are going well for you though!

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 18:57 2

11. PAPINYC (Posts: 2185; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Well, I hope your holiday was joyous and festive. And, I hope you got everything on your Chanukah list.

BTW, I'll be the bigger man and + you 1 since, apparently, you've received so many "thumbs-down".
What can I say, I always feel generous this time of year.

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 22:11 1

14. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Christmas was good, although presents tend to become pretty sparse the older you get.

Thanks for the thumbs up. It's just a hazard of the job. If I do my job and cover everything in the mobile sphere impartially, there will inevitably be people who think I'm biased, because I don't cover what they want to read (aka cater to their bias). So, that leads to thumbs down.

I'll toss some +1s your way to spread the holiday cheer.

posted on 29 Dec 2012, 10:40

16. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


Exactly what I was thinking. Why would you expect the president to fix something by clapping his hands? The people have a lot to do with why we are in this mess. It amazes me how people are always quick to blame others.

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 13:20

3. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5540; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


wait...this doesn't make sense to me.
people can see what i'm watching with Netflix & Hulu Plus on Xbox LIVE.
i can also share what i'm watching on Hulu Plus via Facebook.
what's the deal?

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 15:16

8. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


That's what I was gonna say, XBOX Live has some kind of feature like that.

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 16:36 3

10. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Hulu implemented the sharing feature regardless of the law and has been fighting a lawsuit on it in California. Netflix respected the law and held back the sharing features.

I'm a PS3 guy, so I didn't know that the feature existed on Xbox Live already. Good to know

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 20:59 2

13. downphoenix (Posts: 2267; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Im a PS3 guy too but I was formerly an XBOX one, I had to turn off the sharing because my wife would use my netflix account, didnt want my friends to tease me if she watched something like Glee LOL.

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 22:13 2

15. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2649; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Yeah, I'm pretty lucky my wife doesn't use Netflix streaming much. So, if I had this feature, you'd see a bunch of NBA docs, The Office, 30 Rock, The Last Airbender, and stuff like that for the most part. So, when you saw Felicity come through, it would be pretty obvious that wasn't me.

posted on 29 Dec 2012, 10:45

17. cripton805 (Posts: 907; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


I despise Glee with a passion. Just listening to the show makes my blood boil.

posted on 27 Dec 2012, 19:18

12. mike2959 (Posts: 193; Member since: 08 Oct 2011)


How about we share what are earing habits are? Pooping habits? Sleeping habits? How about everyone just mind ya own beeswax! That's what grandpa always said!

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