The law that's preventing you from sharing your Netflix history may soon change. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that would modify a law that restricts sharing a person's video rental history without written consent.
The new law would still require permission, but it would allow people to grant it online. That would open the door for video streaming services such as Netflix and iTunes to let U.S. users share what they're watching to their networks.
The current law, called the Video Privacy Protection Act, was enacted in 1988 to protect people's privacy after the video rental records of Robert Bork were made public. (Coincidentally, Bork died earlier on Wednesday). The VPPA has prevented Netflix and other on-demand services from implementing a system for their users to share what they're watching with friends online, although only in the U.S.
The House approved the bill, HR 6671, through a voice vote, The Hill reports. The next big step is Senate approval. While that's by no means guaranteed, the new bill has a better chance of passing than legislation from last year that was intended to solve the same problem. That bill stalled in the Senate over a couple of details.
The new bill specifically addresses those by requiring rental companies to give users a clear way to withdraw their approval of sharing and to set 24-month automatic expiry of the consent, unless user re-opts in.
Another bill, HR 2471, also addresses the same problem, although it's part of a larger package that addresses more aspects of online privacy, including what kind of records law enforcement can obtain without a warrant. That bill recently received approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In response to the House approval of the House bill, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed concerns over privacy.
"Changes to electronic privacy cannot happen piecemeal," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, in statement. "If we are to achieve true reform -- which means getting full protection for Americans' in-boxes and private communication -- we cannot give priority to special interests. If they want updates to our privacy laws, they should have to wait in line with the American people."
Do you think the new bill should be passed into law? Let us know in the comments.
--Courtesy of mashable.com