Blockbuster gets legal poke for Facebook Tupperware campaign
A woman in Texas is sueing Blockbuster for using Facebook's controversial "Beacon" advertising system to reveal to her friends which movies she rented.
Cathryn Elaine Harris' suit, filed 9 April, claims the video rental outfit breached the federal Video Privacy Protection Act when it participated in Beacon. She is seeking class action status, AP reports.
Beacon works by tracking what purchases Facebook members make on outside websites, including Blockbuster's. It then reports what they bought to the members' Facebook friends in the hope that it'll be viewed as a "trusted recommendation" - essentially a digital Tupperware party.
It was greeted with an outcry from privacy advocates that forced the social network to ask users whether they want to opt-in, rather than offer an obscure opt-out.
Blockbuster denies wrongdoing. "Our alliance with Facebook included numerous levels of privacy protection built in for our online subscribers," a spokesman said.
The complaint, meanwhile, charges: "To this day, however, Facebook still receives personally identifiable information from participating websites. To this day, Blockbuster Online members remain unsuspecting victims."
It's not know what Harris' friends learned about her video habits.
The Video Privacy Protection Act was introduced after a newspaper obtained the dull and judge-like rental history of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork in the 1980s. ®
@Ian Michael Gumby
I completely agree and think that this is thoroughly overlooked in all the facebook bashing.
There is plenty wrong with the facebook provacy setup, but I am less bothered about that than the fact that blockbusters et al can send this information out so carelessly? Just because it's facebook rather than a guy in the street does *not* make it ok for them to tell people what relationship we have without my permission. Who gets to decide this? Where am I supposed to have looked and read to say that I agree with this?
@ James - schoolboy error
"Or point and lauch at your ex-friends as they get carted off to prison and fined lots of dollars after being apprehended while watching their precious "free" download."
It's not the download that gets you, it's the making available, and it isn't a prison sentence, it's a civil law matter.
You sue Blockbuster for releasing your information without your consent.
You can't sue Facebook because you opt-ed in to their system.
Imagine if you didn't have a Facebook account and Blockbuster sent them your personal information... You can tell Facebook to delete the information but you sue Blockbuster for violating your privacy.