Netflix will soon share your viewing info on Facebook

Anyone remember The National Do Not Call Registry? It was this government sponsored act passed in 2003 to limit the number of telemarketers calls, if not stop them outright. because we were tired of being hustled and hassled by advertising.

Fast forward to today, and now, a decade later, Congress passes a "social sharing bill."

As the Guardian points out, "Though they can't seem to do anything about the looming financial crisis, Congress has passed a bill that will make it easier for a company like Netflix or Hulu to share your rental data with Facebook."

The article further points out that Netflix has been lobbying hard to circumvent the Video Privacy Protection Act, a bill passed in 1988 that was designed to do the exact opposite of what Netflix wants. Namely, display your rental history on Facebook, in an effort to advertise.

Anyone remember Facebook Beacon? Yup that kind of stuff isn't ever going away. it'll just go under different names. And the really insanely crazy thing is that now brands like Netflix are lobbying congress to get away with it.

The Guardian article ends thusly:

In other privacy-related news, Congress decided to punt the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, in which authorities would need a warrant to search e-mails or cloud-stored user data, to 2013 at the earliest. While you wait for meaningful privacy protection, you'll at least have the 'freedom' to share your Instant Queue.

Some of the younger socially engaged types who never saw a VCR tape unless it had dust collecting on it, will no doubt be unperturbed by this news the same as they were Instagram rolling out (and then backpedaling) its Terms of use, which, if read at face value, would have put our images up for sale.

This isn't a "kids get off my lawn," rant. A lot of my friends in that department were indeed phased by it. One CRM I know deleted her Instagram. I did too, and so did Dabitch. The fact Instagram reverted to their original terms of service is moot; they're a free service that will find a way to make money off of us, privacy be damned. With every new service its parent company Facebook rolls out, this should now be as apparent as mace to the face.

I realize mentioning three people deleting their account is nothing more than anecdotal evidence. The link above suggests Instagram did not in fact lose 25% of its users in the Terms of Use aftermath. Although what else would they say if they wanted to save face? Still, I'm guessing the percentage of ship jumpers was no doubt smaller than the loudmouths on Twitter who merely threatened to delete their accounts and then were too lazy or whatever to do so.

So let me break down for you who Facebook and Netflix and Instagrams's true preferred demographic are:

The first are social media nerds who don't give a shit about their privacy. "We think you're overreacting man, because we're just sharing information that doesn't matter, like our rental history photographs of our kids. Someday when they're 18, as google tells us, they'll love the fact millions of people they don't know saw them grow up. That's not creepy at all." Even if I bought in to this argument, which I don't for a whole host of reasons, what bothers me about Netflix is that unlike Instagram and Facebook, we pay to use their services. It's not like they're going broke unless the world knows what I watched last night.

The second type are people who might actually care about privacy, but for whatever reason, are too lazy to do something about it. I suspect because they are walking contradictions. "Yeah I know it's not the great and that's why I make a big stink about it on Twitter. That way everyone knows about it, and I get a lot of retweets. But ah, it's too hard to delete my profile and anyway I like looking at photos of nerdy girl's feet. What, that's not creepy, right?"

And then there are the third type of people: the useful idiots who really don't know how much privacy they're giving up. They drink the Kool Aid handed out by Zuckerberg, et al every time its in front of them. You know this type because you've hidden them from your timeline. They're the ones who are playing every Zenga game known to man, reading and sharing every last article, and liking every last post. They have no philosophical stance on the issue of privacy; it doesn't even come in to play.

But here's the thing: Today it's your Netflix rental data, and tomorrow it's your Instagram photos. Don't think for a second those Terms Of Use won't be revamped in a few years to include broader agreements that benefit the businesses. And if you think that's paranoid, let me remind you, I'm not the one that lobbied congress to change privacy bills on behalf of one company. Netflix did.

But you know what? If they can, we can. We have a Do Not Call bill. Last time I checked it was pretty darn effective. I say let's put pressure on congress to pass a Do Not Share bill. I want the option to opt out and still use the service firmly in place. Otherwise? I'll be doing a lot less growing up in public. Even less than I do already.

AnonymousCoward's picture