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Woman Sues Blockbuster for Facebook Privacy Violations

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the looking-for-a-quick-buck dept.

Privacy 133

Chris Blanc writes "A Texas woman has sued Blockbuster over its activities relating to Facebook's Beacon tool. The movie rental service has been reporting user activity to Facebook since Beacon launched last November, which the plaintiff says is a violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act."

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'A Texas Woman'? (4, Funny)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 6 years ago | (#23122936)

We need more info -- can someone please post her name, address, phone number and video rental preferences?

Easy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123024)

Re:Easy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123158)

Oh, hey there, Malicious Link! I almost didn't recognize you without your -1 Troll goatee!

Re:Easy (1)

GoldCow64 (1052692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123944)

Why isn't this shit being deleted again?

Re:Easy (1)

koh (124962) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124330)

Because YHBT. YHL. HAND.

Re:Easy (1)

GoldCow64 (1052692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124366)

Elaborate please? I mean really, this is just like the old ass hole goatse links. Why aren't they just simply deleted?

Re:Easy (4, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124746)

In the words of a slashdot user's sig who shall remain anonymous,
"Censorship is always more offensive than that which is censored. Always."

Re:Easy (1)

GoldCow64 (1052692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124812)

Haha, well I think thats true in almost all situations. But say someone spammed what he did 100 times. What I'm trying to get at is, there is a limit.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125098)

No, what you are getting at is that there is a limit for you and you think that limit should apply to everyone. Of course that's what censorship is.

Re:Easy (1)

GoldCow64 (1052692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125206)

lol, you /.ers are a feisty bunch. Ok, so think of this example. I want to kill you to express myself. Why would you censor me?

Re:Easy (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125208)

Are laws against murder "censorship" against "violent expression"?

Goatse = (attempted) eyeball murder.

Re:Easy (1)

GoldCow64 (1052692) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125244)

Well, what his post really does is prevent me from expressing myself by intentionally crashing my browser. Temporary of course, but it prevents me none the less.

Re:Easy (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125314)

Well, you see, I'm for the "censorship" of spam. Spammers are a minority of users I'd like to see disenfranchised of everything but breathing. Well, maybe that too.

Saying that a spam filter is censorship is exactly like saying arresting someone for murder is "censorship." They're both non-sequitors, IMHO, TUIA (To Use an Internet Acronym>)

Re:Easy (3, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125210)

Perhaps instead of a deletion, a {work unfriendly} advisory in brackets could be added.

There is a real problem with some links in some places. Especially when they are presented at a site that is somewhat "work/family safe" oriented. I say safe orented because it is well known that people surf this site at work or in front of the kids. Purposely hiding the true origin of a link to trick people into viewing it is about as stupid as it can get.

And no, it isn't censorship to delete a link that is fed through a proxy in order to obfuscate the origin so that people who wouldn't otherwise click on it could be tricked into doing so. If the point was to post a link to something, then the link to it would be posted and not bounced from a assumed safe domian. In case your wondering, http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0oGkwkgCAlIK5YAl_5XNyoA/SIG=1hr6qq1f/EXP=1208637856/**http%3A//slashblog.notlong.com/ [yahoo.com] is the same as going to http://.slashblog.notlong.com/ [notlong.com]

And yes, I purposely broke both links. The first one can be followed and anyone with half a brain can fix the other after opening it. It you have doubts, you can go up and click on the original to verify.

Re:Easy (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125190)

Browse at +3.

Re:Easy (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125404)

Gotta love NoScript. First it stops that annoying "Rickroll screen that moves around and annoys the hell out of you", and now this website too?

Is it legal to marry a program?

Re:'A Texas Woman'? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123026)

I believe her name is Debbie, and she's from Dallas. Google should get you the rest.

Re:'A Texas Woman'? (4, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123074)

I believe her name is Debbie, and she's from Dallas. Google should get you the rest.
OMG!? Some porn star has already stolen her identity! Blockbuster must pay!!

Re:'A Texas Woman'? (1)

vil3nr0b (930195) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123028)

She is probably ashamed because Blockbuster keeps sending NC-17 movie flyers to her house.

More and more problems (5, Insightful)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23122944)

Social networking sites, and Facebook in particular, seem to be increasingly undesirable.

Apart from not wanting people such as potential employers to gain access to profiles that are by default made openly accessible, security vulnerabilities [publishing2.com] are particularly worrying, given the fact that social networking accounts often contain detailed personal information in context (i.e. not just a name, but a name connected to a university, email account, other people, images etc.) Add to that advertising schemes that intentionally deliver users' data to third-parties, and you have a dangerous mix, especially considering the average user's lack of awareness regarding safe-guarding personal data [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:More and more problems (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123066)

I saw this in part when adding an app means that the app has access to all your profile information. It's either all or nothing, no way to add restrictions.

OK, Facebook has access to my information, but I don't see why third party developers have to have it. I also don't put much information on there. I just have to assume that any information in my profile is going to be available to anyone, even if I put up restrictions and limitations, so I'm careful what I put up there.

Re:More and more problems (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123098)

Yea, I saw that too. This is why I don't have one single app installed. That and all the retardedness they cause...

Re:More and more problems (3, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123766)

I just have to assume that any information in my profile is going to be available to anyone, even if I put up restrictions and limitations, so I'm careful what I put up there.

Exactly. My face book is under my real name, with real information. I don't put anything on it that I wouldn't want my professors/bosses to see (because they're on my friends list!), which pretty much means anything I wouldn't want the entire world to see.

I have blogs and accounts on other sites that are less connected to my IRL identity. Sure, people who know me could probably figure out it was me, but my name is not on them, nor is any identify information like what college I went to or what year I graduated from high school. I can be a little more free, but I'm still reasonably careful because I know that if ANYONE can connect that to the real me, they can tell others.

Re:More and more problems (1)

It'sYerMam (762418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124382)

Not sure whether you realise but, as of recently, you can control exactly who can see what of your profile. Risks should be minimised if you have a private profile and don't let anyone but your proper friends see your drunken photographs and so on.

Re:More and more problems (2, Insightful)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124450)

And what if one of your friends later interns at a company that you plan on working for? If the boss knows that your friend has Facebook access to you, he could demand that it be printed out and given to him. Given the choice between disloyalty and unemployment, I would say most would pick disloyalty, especially in our current economic situation.

Re:More and more problems (1)

paintswithcolour (929954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124592)

Absolutely justified.

And if you had a key to your friend's house, or they invited you in, your boss could ask you to rummage through all their stuff and take photos. You could chip in with some personal stories too...I mean your friend should expect it, it's your job on the line.

Re:More and more problems (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125112)

Two totally different situations. Perhaps a more appropriate comparison would be if his boss asked to photograph the stereo equipment he has or the furniture or something. But taking something from a house isn't the same thing- you are not deprived of property when they print out your drunken orgies posted on the interweb. Even if you attempt to hide them from people that would frown on it.

On another note, it would be no different then asking them what type of person they were. Sort of like with a personal reference even if they didn't list you as one. Obviously, if you have pictures to prove it, you are that type of person. So I guess maybe the question is the same, do you tell and keep your job, or lie to protect your friend and hope you don't lose it when they find out later?

Now if we could only work a car in here somewhere, we could really screw some analogies up.

Re:More and more problems (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125108)

What's the problem? It sounds like you've just found a place you don't want to work and a friend you no longer want to have. Win-win.

Re:More and more problems (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125292)

Because he would still rather work at that place - just like that "disloyal" friend would too.

And given "our current economic situation" maybe even if that place is filled with disloyal friends and crappy bosses.

Go figure :).

Re:More and more problems (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125148)

Isn't this the place that decided out of the blue to show everybody everything that their friends were doing? If it's in their hands, better be sure you trust those hands.

Re:More and more problems (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124728)

I don't see why third party developers have to have it
Erm, that's what facebook sell. They "sell" your details to app developers in return for their apps. The more adopted the app, the more data mining they can do (more people that is).

In turn the apps generate more page views, which generates more "ad" revenue.

You're not really that naive, are you?

The devs sell your details then to spammers/scammers (or the service agents of spammers and scammers) so they can either target spam or match up the rest of your details with the government leaked SSID (NINO in the UK) listings and apply for credit cards for you ...

Facebook must be a marketeers dream - they not only get to market stuff to you, but also to all of your friends. They now have far greater opportunity to manipulate peer pressure, the greatest tool of the capitalist.

Re:More and more problems (2, Interesting)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123096)

While you have a point, they can be fun if you use them the correct way. It's kind of like creating ghost Amazon.com accounts and searching for really f-ed up stuff, or just opposites (Marilyn Manson/Britney Spears, etc...), then going to your main page to see what they recommend for you. Same thing with FaceBook and the like... except there you have to be careful not to get on a government watch list by watching too many Michael Moore movies and because you're like 30 and have nothing but 13 year olds on your friends list.

Re:More and more problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123428)

FBIbot V3.2 flagged post; FACEBOOK_MATCH_LATER=yes

Re:More and more problems (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123674)

They are just a fad and will fade away just like TV and the Web did. Oh wait...

I'm afraid social networking sites are here to stay, unfortunately. I agree with a lot of people here that at least currently they are insecure and have few if any redeeming qualities. However, an entire generation or two is growing up using them. It's going to be a hard habit to break. Maybe the fad part will wear off some but they are probably here to stay.

Re:More and more problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123856)

No limit to the number of social networking sites that can be created. Facebook isn't like Comcast with huge infrastructure costs barring easy competition. Though watch out for ridiculous imaginary property laws to try and limit competition. If sites like myspace and facebook aren't careful they could end up being dumped like spam yahoo email accounts.

Re:More and more problems (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124794)

I think I'll hit lycos and altavista and see what I can find about that phenomena...you know, web sites that lose out to hungrier/better newcomers.

Re:More problems...if you want them (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124294)

I am astonished how otherwise intelligent people never stop to think how easy it is to "anonymize" their Facebook accounts but still have their close friends recognize them. For example, when creating an account:

* Use a nickname instead of your real name.
* Use a disposable email account.
* Don't bother filling out info like, phone numbers, home address, gender, relationship details.
* Don't fill out any other sensitive info, or use fake, or humorous data only your friends would understand.
* Make use of FB's extensive privacy settings to lock out access to non-approved friends.
* Turn off FB's "social ads" feature.
* Use Firefox with Ad Blocker Plus enabled.
* Block suspicious or undesirable apps.

You can still enjoy these social web sites without advertisers or employers getting any useful, real information on you.

Re:More and more problems (2, Interesting)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124402)

Social networking sites, and Facebook in particular, seem to be increasingly undesirable.

I concur - and it doesn't help that I haven't had much desire to do any social networking lately, save for a quick check-in if I was expecting something. I cleared my Facebook account of most information and limited my applications to a handful (photos, events, the stuff that isn't so invasive) and tightened my privacy. There were a lot of changes to what was public and how public that I missed in my absence.

Re:More and more problems (3, Interesting)

chrispalasz (974485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124980)

I find this article particularly interesting because I had the same problem and complaint.

Less than a month ago I signed up for Blockbuster Online, which I've tried before and liked. Suddenly I'm getting all this Facebook spam from blockbuster asking me to approve their request to tell the world every single movie I'm renting.

I didn't click any check box giving Blockbuster permission to access any of my Facebook information. Not only that, but I had to go to the Blockbuster website and find out HOW they got my information and how to stop it. Finding that information was not obvious. You wouldn't be able to find it by browsing the site. You have to do a search through their help section.

In the end, Blockbuster (from their online store site) told me to use the Facebook option to block their website from accessing my profile if I didn't want their spam.

I definitely see it as a violation of privacy; especially considering they didn't even ask and offered no option of their own for stopping the spam.

Blockbuster makes you waive that (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23122964)

Blockbuster's user agreement includes a wavier of your rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act. That's why I don't shop there.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (2)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23122988)

Wow, that is a hell of a waiver.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123010)

I'm not a member but I sometimes go in to browse the new releases while my roommate looks for something to rent. They better not use my picture without my permission. Those rights are available, at a price, and I never waived anything.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123016)

Blockbuster's user agreement includes a wavier of your rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act.
Boy, that is bad. All my local video rental place makes you sign away is your first-born.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (0)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123056)

That sounds "unconscionable"!

As in "unconscionable contract".

Sorry, Ralph, "unpossible".

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (5, Informative)

ark1 (873448) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123168)

Just beacause it is in the contract does not mean it is legal.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123498)

Very true. Most "good" clickwraps and T&C statements (check any video game manual) will mention that their agreement does not override your individual state's rights like warranty or right to sue.

Government can and does legislate power to the people... as well as taking it away. :-)

And even if something is illegal across the board, you still have to go to court to argue it. I begin to wonder if American parents have to give their children a seperate allowance for laywers' fees.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123198)


Blockbuster's user agreement includes a wavier of your rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act. That's why I don't shop there.

not sure how it works in the U.S.A, but here in New Zealand, you *cannot* contract yourself out of the law. e.g: if an employment contract you sign states you waive the right to opt out of working on public holidays, that clause does not apply. Surely you'd have something similar in the states?

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124078)

I was hesitant to post, but seeing yours, I believe we do. Not a lawyer, forgot where I heard it and can't seem to find a source, so take it as you will.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124348)

In Germany and most EU countries there's a clear differenciation: Some laws cannot be contracted out (like f.e. creating a private copy of copyrighted media), some can only be contracted out under specific circumstances (f.e. in assurance contracts), and most can be contracted out. Privacy protection laws belong to the first category.

Oh, and you don't even have to sue. Even if you sign the agreement, the restrictions never apply in first place, not even if you're fully aware of them. They aren't enforceable either.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (2)

Venner (59051) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124428)

In the USA, "freedom to contract" tends to trump. However, you generally can't contract out of criminal laws, nor laws passed under the auspices of a state's general police powers (health, public welfare & safety, etc.) This might be valid as a waiver of a statutorily created right (I mean, you can even waive many constitutional rights), but I'd certainly argue it being unconscionable.
Uneven bargaining power, the reason they ask you to waive it in the first place (entirely to their benefit, against an apparent legislative preference), the relative sophistication of the consumer and the inability to make an informed decision, the conspicuousness of such a clause, etc, etc, etc.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124684)

>>> you can even waive many constitutional rights

Like what? What good is a constitution if your employer just says "sign this":

"I waive all rights under the law, my employer now owns me"

Then goes off to put all your possessions on ebay ...

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (2, Informative)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125298)

There are limitations to what can and can't be done. Some contracts limit your free speech forbid you to run for public office while employed, demand arbitration instead of lawsuits, limit legal jurisdiction to some far away home office location where they already purchased the judges and so on.

I remember reading about a court case a while back where it said some things in contracts like that become null if it is universal a requirement for employment. This is especially true when there is a law of some sort giving the employee more rights. It seems that they have to allow the rights and then negotiate them away. If they impose a policy or condition for employment that removes those rights, they can't really be enforced. Well, they can as long as you don't get a lawyer and fight it.

I think the case I was reading about had to do with some company who imposed flex time on hourly employees so that any time worked over 40 hours in one week was time off during the next week so they could get out of paying the mandated time and a half for overtime. Apparently the company has a forced overtime rule where they could hold you over your shift for 4 hours at their discretion or tell you your working on the weekends sometime during the work week. It would suck to work two 12 hour shifts and three 8 hour shifts in a week (8 hours of time and a half overtime) to loose half a days pay and get an extra day off the next week.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125348)

I'm starting to think that they should make it illegal for people to put such terms in contracts.

Employment contracts have started getting more and more unreasonable and crap in the past few decades.

A sufficiently high level of unreasonableness and crapness is indistinguishable from evil.

They often say "Oh it's nothing, the company will never do that", "Oh that's just our standard contract", or bullshit like that.

Slavery was abolished years ago, but they're now reintroducing it in employment contracts everywhere. Go read some of those contracts, which boil down to "If you sign this you are now my Slave^H^H^H^H^HEmployee, I'm the Master^H^H^H^H^H^HEmployer so bow down, worship and serve me, bwahaha, and lastly, fuck you".

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (5, Informative)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123266)

Parent is not correct, at least according to the website:

From the privacy policy [blockbuster.com]

Legal Notices--Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988. Blockbuster supports the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and will use reasonable commercial efforts to require employee and business partner compliance with the Act.
Now, that's pretty vague, but if you take it at face value (HAH!), it would imply that they don't have you waive your rights under this law.

However, they do have some pretty crappy privacy when it comes to any comments you post to their website (ratings and such): From the TOS [blockbuster.com] :

Content submitted to blockbuster.com (including your name) will not be confidential and may be published or disclosed in Blockbuster's sole discretion, without any compensation to you.

By submitting Content, you grant Blockbuster the right to use your submitted name in connection with your Content.
I may just be going back to Netflix...

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (2, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124006)

Doesn't slashdot publish your content (including your username) at its sole discression, without any compensation to you?

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124770)

Yes it does. My name is Anonymous Coward and I approve this message.

Yes but it's illegal. (5, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123268)

Your right to privacy on video rental records used to be dictated by what ever agreement you had or lacked. But then Robert Bork was nominated to the supreme court. At that time a reporter obtained his video rental history and published it. The politically charged backlash created a federal law mandating the privacy of those records.

In otherwords, video rental records have a protected status that is federally recognized. it's not the same as most other information about you. it might even be more protected than your credit history!

Now this is a civil suit ($$$) not a prosecution, so that law is only out there saying what the standard of conduct expected of blockbuster is and is not a direct factor in the trial. I would guess that block busters agreements reasonably allow them to share your data with 3rd party business affiliates or for purposes of debt collection. However, I think the expectation is that your records are not public records.

Facebook might be the loosely defined bussiness affiliate, but most people would probably say it's public. And you did not really intend to direct them to share your borrowing records, nor at the time you agreed with facebook to share certain data could you have anticipated that blockbuster would become a bussiness affiliate. They really needed to negotiate that with you.

finally just because you sign a "wavier" does not mean you cannot sue. As I understand it, you can never sign away your right to sue. The wavier simply makes it hard to win.

I note that recently Netflix ran into a problem too. Their supposedly anonymized rental records used in their contest to improve movie selection turns out to have enough information content that clever googling can re-associate names with a large fraction of the people in the data base. (e.g. they mention movies they watched somewhere on the web and this can be correlated). Some group in texas actually did the reverse calculations and showed it worked.

Re:Yes but it's illegal. (1, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123592)

finally just because you sign a "wavier" does not mean you cannot sue. As I understand it, you can never sign away your right to sue. The wavier simply makes it hard to win.
I imagine the "waiver" you sign as part of your Blockbuster membership (assuming it's in there) would constitute the "express, written consent" required by the Video Privacy Protection Act.

Which would mean you've signed away your right to sue under that law.

What this really shows is that even opt-in laws can be easily bypassed by burying the opt-in amongst other small legal language and not making it a separate issue.

Re:Yes but it's illegal. (2)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124878)

I imagine the "waiver" you sign as part of your Blockbuster membership (assuming it's in there) would constitute the "express, written consent" required by the Video Privacy Protection Act.

Which would mean you've signed away your right to sue under that law.

2710. Wrongful disclosure of video tape rental or sale records
(b) Video Tape Rental and Sale Records.
(2) A video tape service provider may disclose personally identifiable information concerning any consumer
(B) to any person with the informed, written consent of the consumer given at the time the disclosure is sought;
-- http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/2710.html [cornell.edu]

In short, no. Feel free to find text in this law to back up your imagination.

Re:Yes but it's illegal. (2)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125400)

It took me a minute to see what you were getting at. But right as I was about to ask you which part didn't allow it, I noticed the Informed written consent part of b-2-B would make it illegal to hide it in with a bunch of other junk and it is apparent that it needs to be done when the disclosure is planned to happen.

I guess the question might be how obfuscated could the wording actually be before it isn't an informed consent and how would we define the "time disclosure is sought"? If it means some time before they decided to use your name and information specifically, then there is a lot of problems there. If it means that they could plan on doing it at a later date but with nothing specific in mind, it might not be as clear cut. Although the way I read that, as soon as they single you out, they have to get written permission to disclose anything and make some sort of effort to let you know what they intend to do for each and every time they decide to do it.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123338)

And that is exactly why "she is suing", and why we aren't reading about the Texas Attorney General bringing a case before the grand jury to indict Blockbuster's board for breaking the law.

It's also why Harris' class-action suit won't be heard. The class is defined as a group among those who have waived their rights. Nobody in the class is entitled to damages, so they cannot prevail.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125452)

After viewing the law, I don't think you can waive your rights on this one. It [cornell.edu] specifically says they must get your informed, written consent from the consumer, at the time the disclosure is sought. But more appropriately, it specifically banns the disclosure of any personally identifiable information concerning any consumer then lists specific ways it is allowed.

I think the informed part means they can't hide it in some terms of service legalese in an attempt to obfuscate it. I think the written consent means they need your signature. The "at the time the disclosure is sought" means each and every time someone decides they want to disclose the information. Putting this all together, I think it specifically means they have to get your informed written consent before disclosing any personally identifiable information each and every time they "plan" on doing it which would mean a waiving of a right still wouldn't give them the ability to ignore this law.

Re:Blockbuster makes you waive that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123924)

There are a lot more reasons than that to not shop their as well, such as their editing of movies to meet their values.

Welcome to the digital age (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23122986)

I wouldn't expect anything else.

What do you think all this credit card tracking and online accounts and frequent-buyers club bullshit is about?

It is all for companies to be able to direct their advertising more effectively. That is their incentive in providing these tools.

If you don't like this sort of intrusion into your lives, then why not take control of your own governance [metagovernment.org] and change things?

Re:Welcome to the digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123598)

Wiki...government. Yeah, that sounds like it would go over real well with the current suits.

(btw vote ron paul)

Re:Welcome to the digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123772)

Fuck em. The suits have all the power, all the money, and all the guns. But if we just ignore them, all of their power goes away, their money is no good, and they have nobody to operate the guns.

Re:Welcome to the digital age (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123888)

Everyone ignoring them all at once, including the soldiers they command. That doesn't sound difficult at all!

Re:Welcome to the digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124030)

Not at all. As long as the soldiers are part of "everyone."

FaceBook is evil. (4, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123030)

These first generation social networks are going to be the source of a lot of regret. We can only hope that the damage is minimal and that the lessons are learned quickly.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123134)

I hope people realize everyone does stupid shit sometimes and we can get over it.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123218)

I hope people realize everyone does stupid shit sometimes and we can get over it.
Tell that to the hiring mgr. or HR person. And these days, just to apply to a job, you have to provide your SSN (Not just Government, Home Depot and other corps).

It doesn't really matter if they personally don't have a problem but if they perceive that their customers will, then you're SOL.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (3, Interesting)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123260)

That's more likely.

A society where everyone pretty much knows whats going on with their friends/aquantences without all this victorian privacy bullshit sounds much more healthy.. and that's what's happening, slowly.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (2, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123770)

What?
are you serious?
When I want privacy I'm not talking about people not seeing the legs of the dinner table.

I'm talking about people not being able to track:
how often I go to the bathroom
where I live
What movies I watch
how much gas is left in the tank of my car
how much gas I use driving to work
how much gas I use during the week

And it's not because those things are important.
It's because of powerful mathematical functions and formulas that can derive, from that, exactly where I hang out with friends, and when, and for how long, and the most opportune moment to pop out of the bushes and ninja-kill me.

Seriously. you have no business trying to math-ninja me.

also, I am NOT paranoid, so stop calling me that.

Social networks for all of society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123868)

Take it to its ultimate extreme: government by social networking. This link appears in the thread right above this one: http://www.metagovernment.org/ [metagovernment.org]

I would rather have an open source government than a FaceBook government. That is our only choice, since it is unlikely that we will keep using the old system for much longer.

Re:Social networks for all of society (1)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125106)

is unlikely that we will keep using the old system for much longer.
Haha. The entrenched power of the government is forever.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (3, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124054)

It's not my friends/acquaintances that I'm worried about. And frankly I think the "more information / better communication will make us will make us more tolerant" line is wishful thinking. There have always been groups on the edge of society that were harshly treated if their (harmless) habits were exposed. Mutually Assured Destruction doesn't help in those cases - the majority may redefine all the sins that the majority commits to be socially acceptable, but not the minority sins.

Furthermore, I don't really buy the idea that lack of privacy is something that is good for society. Your relationship with your customers is not the same as the one with your boss or coworkers or parents or friends or spouse or kids. It's not so much that I want to keep things secret so much as I want them to be presented in context, which is why we tend to only share private aspects of our life when we think someone knows us well enough to understand them. People will always be unduly influenced by first impressions - it's fundamental psychology, not culture - and so I think this compartmentalization of our personal lives will always be valuable to some extent.

Even if this generation becomes more tolerant, the previous generation is still going around for quite some time, and will have disproportionate control of politics and business for that time. Most of the benefits that result from this newfound lack of privacy will take a full generation to come to fruition, whereas the damage it causes can be felt now.

Finally, even if society becomes less judgmental in personal life, there will always be profit/power motive in using your information against you. I don't trust the government or the insurance companies to look the other way when given info they can use against me, and if history is any indication, governments and corporations will aways be untrustworthy.

So, I really don't think this Victorian judgment bullshit is going away anytime soon, and I'll keep my Victorian privacy till then thank-you-very-much :)

Re:FaceBook is evil. (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124332)

Look around. The younger generation is doing just as much harm or even more so (Anonymous anyone?) than the older in terms of privacy. Don't delude yourself that once they're gone it'll be all peaches and cream.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124734)

Exactly. Say, In 1956 I was convicted of statutory rape of a minor. In 1957 we were married and have been married since. Someone may stop reading at the first sentence. Everybody takes information differently and so we tailor explanations by whom we're talking to.

Hey, idiot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23124088)

So what's your home address, phone number, birthdate and SSN?

Sorry to puncture your idiotic notions with healthy reality.

Imagine the Repurcussions (4, Insightful)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123942)

I think people clearly see the danger of this beacon feature abstractly. But like me provide two examples that may show the problems in more context:

Example 1: Man buys book "How to Quit Your Job and get a Better Job for Dummies". His employer sees it on his profile and passes on the man for a job promotion, why promote someone who is looking to quit.
Example 1a: Same as above but man was buying the book for a friend unhappy with job. Man wanted his friend to find a job as enjoyable as his own.

Example 2: Man buys a book "Surviving AIDS" for a college project. His neighbors now think he has AIDS.
Example 2a: Man gets AIDS 10 years later. Denied for treatment by health insurance company as a pre-existing condition, based on his purchasing the book 10 years ago.

Re:Imagine the Repurcussions (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124612)

The overall message you are trying to convey is one that should be taken very seriously, but these two examples are pretty poor.

Example 1a: Buy the book with cash. Don't buy anything on credit/debit that you don't want traced back to you.
Example 2a: Who as AIDS (not just HIV, full AIDS) for over 10 years? I was always under the assumption that AIDS victims didn't last longer than 5 years.

Re:Imagine the Repurcussions (1)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125122)

I was always under the assumption that AIDS victims didn't last longer than 5 years.
Nah, with today's treatment I'm pretty sure you can live with full-blown AIDS for decades.

Re:FaceBook is evil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23125216)

The first generation of social networks were AOL and ICQ. People have not learned.

Blockbuster - brick and mortar (0)

esconsult1 (203878) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123052)

Regardless of what is happening, i doubt facebook will every retire beacon. It will end up being fairly profitable for them. In fact, based on their CPM, that is probably the most profitable part of their business, and its the part that pisses off their users the most.

Really, when will mass market social network like facebook ever turn a profit? The only way to do that is to open the gates to their walled gardens. The only walled garden sites that really and truly make money are subscription based ones where you have to pay to go through the gate.


bang her all day, or no way? [bangmeter.com]

Where the data stops (1)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123116)

Interesting... part of the issue seems to be that the opting out happens at the Facebook side.

These fixes should relieve any concerns in Harris' lawsuit, right? Wrong. There is a difference between reporting the data to Facebook and publishing it to a user's news feed by default, and Blockbuster is still engaged in the former.

It seems that if your two accounts are linked, there's no way to stop Blockbuster from sending the data to Facebook; only your feed preferences keep it from popping up.

Re:Where the data stops (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#23125536)

It appears that according to the law, Block buster needs to get "informed written consent at the time disclosure is sought" otherwise they are prohibited from disclosing any personally identifiable information regardless of their TOS or privacy policy.

From Blockbuster's TOS (4, Informative)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123176)

Parent is not correct, at least according to the website:

From the privacy policy [blockbuster.com]

Legal Notices Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988. Blockbuster supports the Video Privacy Protection Act of 1988 and will use reasonable commercial efforts to require employee and business partner compliance with the Act.
Now, that's pretty vague, but if you take it at face value (HAH!), it would imply that they don't have you waive your rights under this law.

However, they do have some pretty crappy privacy when it comes to any comments you post to their website (ratings and such): From the TOS [blockbuster.com] :

Content submitted to blockbuster.com (including your name) will not be confidential and may be published or disclosed in Blockbuster's sole discretion, without any compensation to you. Blockbuster may, but is not obligated to, respond to any Content.

By submitting Content, you grant Blockbuster the right to use your submitted name in connection with your Content.

Re:From Blockbuster's TOS (1)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123220)

Drat. That's supposed to be in response to Animats post. I'll repost there.

Re:From Blockbuster's TOS (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123286)

That's just normal bolierplate. It basically means 'You post on a public forum, your problem.'. I run a few hobby lists and they have something pretty similar when signing up. I didn't used to, until some idiot threatened to sue because my *public* mailing list sent his message to all the subscribers (imagine that!) and I refused to travel around the world personally deleting each copy off everyone's machines, google, the wayback machne, etc...

How does beacon know who you are? (1)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123488)

If my name is Abrahamo Lincolni and there are forty Abrahamo Lincolni's on Facebook, how would beacon reliably link the Blockbuster account to the account on Facebook? IP? CC? Address? Email address? Those seem unreliable since the user can enter different info on different sites.

Or does the user have to manually link the two accounts together for beacon to work.

Re:How does beacon know who you are? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123594)

If you are signed in to your Facebook account, Beacon is running. If you then go to Blockbuster to do anything on their site, Beacon associates your FB account (the specific Abrahamo Lincolni that is you, and none of the other 39 Abe's on FB) with your Blockbuster account, and reports that association to Blockbuster.

If you didn't log out of FB before closing that tab, Beacon is (I'm pretty sure) still running, and will still do the same thing when you log into Blockbuster or any other Beacon merchant.

Anyone up for a boycott of all merchants who use Beacon?

Re:How does beacon know who you are? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123634)

Here's how:

Beacon is a cookie.

You log in to Facebook, cookie is placed. You later log out of Facebook, do other stuff on your computer.

Then, you log into Blockbuster.
Beacon stores info about what you do in your Blockbuster account (e.g., rented [movie]).

The next time you log into Facebook, Beacon tells Facebook the information it's stored.

And that's how it knows; no special input needed on the user's part.

Re:How does beacon know who you are? (1)

BigDaddyOttawa (948206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124138)

Well, luckily for you, if you're Abrahamo Lincolni, you're the only one.

http://www.facebook.com/srch.php?nm=Abrahamo+lincolni [facebook.com]

They should have no trouble tracking you.

Re:How does beacon know who you are? (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124686)

1. There's two listings in the search results.
2. You don't know if there are any others who opted out of public search listings.

Being an idiot publically online is one thing, (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 6 years ago | (#23123494)

but this is about information leaked that wasn't even published.

Beacon had also ruined surprise presents that had been purchased online by publishing them to Facebook.
How gross is that? For blockbuster to not predict the reprocutions of this tells me they deserve to get destroyed by Netflix.

Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23123682)

So what if you don't subscribe to Facebook, do they turn your information over to them anyway?

Re:Curious (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124708)

Yes. [pcworld.com]

Facebook Platform Application Terms (1)

ASBands (1087159) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124238)

(b) Examples of Facebook Site Information. The Facebook Site Information may include, without limitation, the following information, to the extent visible on the Facebook Site: your name, your profile picture, your gender, your birthday, your hometown location (city/state/country), your current location (city/state/country), your political view, your activities, your interests, your musical preferences, television shows in which you are interested, movies in which you are interested, books in which you are interested, your favorite quotes, the text of your "About Me" section, your relationship status, your dating interests, your relationship interests, your summer plans, your Facebook user network affiliations, your education history, your work history, your course information, copies of photos in your Facebook Site photo albums, metadata associated with your Facebook Site photo albums (e.g., time of upload, album name, comments on your photos, etc.), the total number of messages sent and/or received by you, the total number of unread messages in your Facebook in-box, the total number of "pokes" you have sent and/or received, the total number of wall posts on your Wall(TM), a list of user IDs mapped to your Facebook friends, your social timeline, and events associated with your Facebook profile.

That's from Facebook's "privacy" statement. That said, I'm not sure the lady has any right to this lawsuit, as it is fairly explicitly stated that there are no rules.

Re:Facebook Platform Application Terms (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23124762)

She's suing blockbuster, not facebook.
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