back to article Netflix set to make your video history public

Netflix has been given the legal green light to integrate information of customer’s video viewing habits on social networks following the passing of a bill by the US House of Representatives. The bill, HR 2471, effectively lifts 23 year old restrictions imposed under the Video Privacy Protection Act, which forbids the …


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  1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    netflix doesn't have porn

    if it did I'd still be a subscriber

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Holy shit

    Thank $DEITY that I get all my movies and shows via bittorrent and thus have no trackable viewing history to speak of. Once again doing it the illegal way is an improvement on doing it by the book... Will the corporate state ever stop shafting their paying customers?

    1. Oninoshiko

      please Read The Fine Article

      all this bill does is permit them to ask you if you want what you are watching to be shared, and IF you say yes the can. There is nothing wrong with this, provided they only share the records of those who agree to it.

      1. Jan Hargreaves

        yeah except it will be hidden in the terms and conditions that no-one ever reads any way.

        "hey we changed our terms, please read and click agree." NO ONE will read, just click agree.

        1. Oninoshiko

          I read ToSes

          Just because you can't be bothered isn't anyone's fault but your own.

      2. Tom 13

        Yeah, right up to the point where Netflix

        changes your default configuration to make it easier for you to use, and one of the defaults just happens to share all your info to FaceBook.

  3. Rick Brasche

    what is the point?

    what is the point of spending time and money to create and pass a bill to increase snooping of video records? If there is a criminal case they can be subpoenaed. If there is some illicit investigation it can be gathered without legal permission.

    Only thing this benefits is advertisers. Congress should not be passing laws to assist advertising companies and violating citizen privacy for that purpose. Spurious law enforcement and "think of the children" is bad enough.

    1. Wile E. Veteran

      Golden Rule

      Real Golden Rule: Those who have the money make the rules.

      The US government is the best government money can buy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        All your politicians are belong to me, BITCH.

    2. Levente Szileszky

      RE: what is the point

      Money. Y'know, the one that goes into campaign coffers.

    3. mark 63 Silver badge


      I cant believe they had a "Video Privacy Protection Act"

      Some politician must had his gay porn history published in the newspapers.

      Nothing wrong with "customers who watched this, also watched this" , as its still anonymous, but why go further?

      I hope you can opt out again if you accidentally tick ( or dont tick) the right box.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        @mark 63

        "Some politician must had his gay porn history published in the newspapers."

        Borked is the term you're looking for and perhaps you missed this bit.

        "The Video Privacy Protection Act was originally created after a Supreme Court nominee was discredited by having his video rental records turn up in a newspaper."

  4. squilookle

    I'm not a Netflix customer or in America... but why do Netflix, Spotify and others think anyone gives a crap about what you are watching/listening to, and that posting this stuff to Facebook is a good idea?

    Worst case scenario, from what I can see, you might have something dodgy in their that you don't want your work colleagues or your mother to see, but you should have to not watch/listen to something to avoid that.

    Best case scenario, you just look like a prat to every one of your friends for sharing stuff that they don't care about.

    If I want to post something to Facebook, I'll add it to my profile or update my status. If i want to watch a film, or listen to an album, dodgy or otherwise, then I'll do it without broadcasting it. And if I want to recommend it, then I'll update my status or profile.

    1. Ammaross Danan

      "think anyone gives a crap about what you are watching/listening to"

      Twitter became a booming business for a reason, as gut-wrenching or mystifying as such a feat may be...

      1. OnTheSpecialBus

        Yet another reason to avoid using Twitter, not that I needed any further persuasion.

        No doubt there will soon be a phone app so geeky dullards the world over can watch the same film on Netfailix at the same time.

        I suppose it keeps them all indoors out of harms way.

      2. craigj

        "Twitter became a booming business for a reason"

        Twitter isn't & never has been a booming business. It's a booming web property, butTwitter doesnt make any $$$

    2. David Evans


      You just don't get it do you? No, nor do I (which is why passed me by as well), but apparently "the young people" do, so why not make some money out of it?

    3. Bugs R Us
      Thumb Up

      Missing the point

      You are possibly of my generation that doesn't share much info. However, generation Y and the generatoins after that will be born into environments where sharing your private life is the norm. Like it or not, that's the future. Yes it will probably lower moral standards or then again maybe people will be less judgemental. Who knows...

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        As long as they can work hard enough to cover my pension and health care costs I'm not bothered.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        No. ! missing the point.

        We just realize that if you actually want to share something, then you can do so explicitly. You don't need some other corporation doing it for you. This isn't about being a dinosaur that doesn't want to share but understanding the low S/N ratio that will ensue. Facebook already suffers from this.

        There is nothing new here, just MBAs that don't fully appreciate or understand the data processing aspects of this situation.

  5. garetht t


    "sharing feature is available to its overseas subscribers but ironically not in America, its biggest market"

    S'not ironic..

  6. flying_walrus

    netflix has jenna?

    funny, i've never seen her there in anything more hard core than that zombie stripper movie a couple years ago...

  7. Neal 5


    says it all,silicon,amazing what you can do with it

    1. Eddie Edwards


      What, is she an android or something?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        She's more machine now than woman, twisted and evil.....

  8. Cliff


    Why this obsession with splashing more and more private information on facebook? I just don't get it. Why not just walk around naked with your bank details tattooed on your back, which would suit facebook just fine if they could advertise on your front. I feel so old sometimes.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    Good article to gauge the moron quotient on Reg Forums

    "consumers will be able to give a one-time consent"... but still we get a half-dozen rambling on about privacy invasion.

    1. Jimbo 6
      Paris Hilton

      Cynic quotient, I believe

      Way to make fiends and influence people ! You go, girl !

      The rest of us just couldn't believe the article didn't say 'consumers will have to go through a tortuous opt-out process to stop Netflix releasing their rental data'.

      Paris, cos she knows *all about* having your video history made public

    2. Just Thinking

      Opting out

      Well, this is personal, private information which people have already given over, assuming it would not be made public. Most people wouldn't want it to be made public. And there is no good reason for it to be made public.

      Now they have decided to make it public.

      Of course if you opt out, it might not be made public straight away. You will have to wait until there is an error or security breach. Then lessons will be learned, etc.

    3. Dave 15

      Thats because

      As another post has put it, the consent to lose your privacy will be hidden on page 295.7b in clause 12312312341412.4.1.a.1.4.6.w somewhere in print 1pixel high behind at least 3 tick boxes and a link you never find in a box where you'd have to scroll 3 days to find it. This is the way all these things work.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Or just do a Text earch for "Beware the Jaguar". That should take you directly to the notice, in the sub-basement, behind the broken lav.

      2. garetht t


        *citation needed.

  10. Simon Neill


    So long as this is about allowing the user to make it happen, then I'm ok with this.

  11. Richard Rae

    Who says that the government only passes laws that suit them???

    "The Video Privacy Protection Act was originally created after a Supreme Court nominee was discredited by having his video rental records turn up in a newspaper."

    'Nough said really....

  12. joe.user

    More stock punishment

    If they don't make this CLEARLY opt-in, their share price will get hammered.

    Netflix's stumbling as of late as many concerned about what the hell is going on at the helm.

  13. Spoonsinger
    Paris Hilton

    What's Netflix?

    Couldn't find appropriate icon, so Paris will have to do.

  14. Inachu


    Imagine the amount of people fired from their jobs because they watched a political documentary.

    Of course like everything on the internet is not 100% secure so I could see in the near future where you set things private but your company where you work demands to see what you have been watching.

    Soon netflix will keep resetting user prefrences as much as facebook has so that soon you will have to OPT IN for security/privacy to hide from the world. Like most local govt now everyone wants everyone else to live in a glass house except for themselves. I do agree privacy was and still is a big deal but the idea of privacy has changed over the past 100 years.

    did you know that when cities were just begun to be called cities when plumbing was not common yet we had what they called POOP trolleys. Horse pulled wagons would ride by each day and the unisex trollys had no stalls. You get up in them and do you business with the person next to you be they male or female as you sit to read the paper. But shhh!!! We would feel insulted to think this is was how humans used to do things today and would feel so shameful to do such a thing today.

  15. Fred 4
    Thumb Down

    consumers will be able to give a one-time consent -

    at the time of service signup - in the terms and conditions on page 435 paragraph 97.

    Netflix : Hi, thank you for calling netflix support. My name is <fill in your favorite Indian name>. How can I help you?

    You : I want to turn off the 'share video history' option.

    Netflix : Oh you didnt want to share your netflix movie history with everyone in the bleedin world?!?!?! I am sorry, you can not opt out, once you have opted in you cannot opt out.

    You : Please cancel my account.

    Netflix : You want to cancel your account??

    no problem, you no longer have to pay us a monthly service charge, and you will have to return "Douglas does The Cowbooys" before the account closure will take effect. However this will not stop your history from being shared to every 'friend' we skimmed from your facebook account. Nor will this stop our access to your facebook account. Nor will this action stop your video history (and all other personal data we have) from being sold and sold and sold yet again.

    Have nice day.

    <sounds of phone call - or email or chat>

    Facebook : Hi thanks for contacting Facebook support. My Name is <same person from above>, how can I help you.

    You : Hi there, I would like to delete my facebook account.

    Facebook : You cant do that. Thank you for your inquiry <click>.

  16. JDX Gold badge

    "Now they have decided to make it public."

    NO THEY BLOODY HAVEN'T. They've been given permission by the government to allow users to choose to make it public.

    Do torrent users think it's impossible that their downloads can be tracked?

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