Netflix announced its integration with Facebook so users could share what they watch through the streaming service -- except in the United States, where federal law prevents it.
Facebook users will only get Netflix integration in Canada and Latin America, according to the Los Angeles Times. The reason?
The Video Privacy Protection Act, a 1988 law that forbids the disclosure of people's video rental information. Companies that violate the law are liable up to $2,500 for each infraction.
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The law was initially created in reaction to the disclosure of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rental habits in a newspaper, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center. It seems that Blockbuster attempted Facebook integration in 2008 and was sued by a Texas woman for sharing her movie rental information on Facebook. In Canada and most everywhere else, this would not be a crime.
Apparently Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-VA) wasn't too busy to sponsor a bill that would allow U.S. Facebook users to opt into the program. “We’re hoping HR2471 passes, enabling us to offer our Facebook integration to our U.S. subscribers who desire it," Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings and chief financial officer David Wells wrote in a letter to shareholders.
We should be pleased we live in a country that protects our right to a private video rental history. If only that same privacy extended to facial recognition software.