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New Bill to Undo Bork-Inspired Video Privacy Law

/ Source: TechNewsDaily

The ability to share your video faves online stands to get a boost from another bill updating the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988.

The bill, HR6671, was introduced by Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., on Dec. 17 and was approved by the House the following day. Under the bill, which heads to the Senate, people may give a one-time consent to allow a video company like Netflix to share with social media services the names of videos they've watched. Current law requires that a user grant permission each time a video is shared.

The Video Privacy Protection Act, passed after the video rental history of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork appeared in a newspaper, was designed to protect the privacy of video customers. Bork, who died today (Dec. 19) at age 85, was known for his view that the Constitution does not establish a right to privacy.

The new bill allows people to a one-time consent to share the videos titles with the public, which for the time being means Facebook, but would apply to other social media outlets or whatever channels a video provider such as Netflix could use.

Similar to a bill passed by the House last year (HR2471), which has now been passed onto the Senate, this new bill contains two additions to address  privacy concerns . People must have an obvious way to opt out of sharing at any time, and their one-time consent expires after 24 months; then they would be required to opt-in again to continue sharing the movies and TV shows they've watched.

Privacy advocates, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, opposed loosening the restrictions of the  Video Privacy Protection Act .

The bill will move onto the Senate for consideration. It will join HR2471, which now has a  big amendment  attached to it that would require police to obtain a warrant before accessing all forms of digital communication for those named in a criminal investigation. Government tracking service gives this expanded video/warrant bill a 42 percent chance of passing, while Goodlatte's video-only bill is rated at a 68 percent chance of being enacted.

Even if the Video Privacy Protection Act were to fall, Judge Bork will still have a modicum of influence on Facebook. His son Robert H. Bork Jr. maintains a page for him.