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Federal Court Applies Video Privacy Law to Streaming Services

A federal court recently held that the Video Privacy Protection Act applied to companies that provide video streaming services over the Internet. The opinion, which is the first to address the issue, relies on the forward-looking nature of the law, reasoning that "Congress was concerned with protecting the confidentiality of private information about viewing preferences regardless of the business model or media format involved." EPIC previously testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and recommended several ways that Congress could strengthen the Act, such as by confirming that it applies to streaming services and allowing users to inspect the information that video providers collect about them. The Senate is considering an amendment that would weaken the consent provision of the law by allowing companies such as Netflix to obtain blanket consent to routinely disclose a consumer’s video viewing records. For more information, see EPIC: Video Privacy Protection.

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