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Netflix Prize Sequel Cancelled Over Privacy Concerns

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the beware-the-evil-agorithims dept.

The Courts 65

An anonymous reader writes "Netflix just announced that they have cancelled the sequel to the Netflix Prize, which was promised last year. Netflix made the choice after they were sued over privacy concerns. The prize involves releasing large amounts of data about users' movie preferences, which raised concerns from the Federal Trade Commission and a lawsuit from KamberLaw LLC. Netflix's Neil Hunt said, 'We have reached an understanding with the FTC and have settled the lawsuit with plaintiffs. The resolution to both matters involves certain parameters for how we use Netflix data in any future research programs.'"

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65 comments

It's time to play... Name That Person! (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455396)

From the linked to previous story...

If a data set reveals a person's ZIP code, birthdate and gender, there's an 87 percent chance that the person can be uniquely identified

Why does Netflix need to release something as precise as a birthday in order to make movie recommendations? I mean, TV ratings are done in demographic groups. Couldn't Netflix get away by just stating a birth year?

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (0, Flamebait)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455546)

If you weren't watching gay porn, you wouldn't have a problem with everybody knowing what movies you watch!

Personally, I circumvent this problem by lying about my gender and birthdate every time I sign up for something. When given a chance, I give my email address as billg@microsoft.com as well. (I wonder how much spam that address receives?)

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31455978)

When given a chance, I give my email address as billg@microsoft.com as well.

They do a back trace on the IP - they find out from the sender what was the IP of the person who gave them that email address and then Microsoft uses their considerable power and influence to find out who you really are. Then, they sign you up for subscriptions to "The Advocate", "Gay Pornography Lovers Journal", and other gay magazines.

You haven't gotten them yet?

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31456032)

He was just wondering why he was suddenly started getting a second copy for free...

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (2, Interesting)

zkp (1634437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456850)

Actually you could probably learn a lot about a person from how they rated certain movies...

Did you watch Michael Moore's film "Capitalism: A Love Story"?

Rating of 5 => You are most likely very liberal

Rating of 1 => You are most likely very conservative

Other things I could potentially learn about you: your religious beliefs, how much time you spend watching movies etc...

Personally, it would not bother me if someone saw my ratings of the films (probably a 1 in my case) or if you knew that I am pretty conservative. The issue is a matter over control. I should be the one who has control over that information, unless netflix explicitly tells you that they give this information out to other customers.

Why does Netflix need to release birthday (1)

KharmaWidow (1504025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455552)

Maybe they are consulting the Zodiac astrology?

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31455670)

Company decisions are usually taken on a "good enough" basis. I would guess that when they decided they thought "we have birthdays so the recommendation engine should be able to use those and we see no obvious reasons not to" the latter because privacy isn't always at the front of the mind of the powered people.

Someone else would have to have (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455724)

a whole lot more on the people to identify them from those three pieces of information.

As in, you would need to know which house has the account, then guess among all the netflix in that zipcode.

I suppose you could stand outside, but I doubt that there is 87% chance unless you know other supposedly private information.

I don't see how exact birthdate matters, how would you confirm it when looking at people? Birthdate x/y/z lives at 144 Amazing avenue? Really? and what gave that away?

Re:Someone else would have to have (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455882)

Let's say you have a job. Your boss, by law, needs to see and retain a copy of either your drivers license or passport, either one of which identifies your birthdate, address (which contains your ZIP code) and gender.

Now let's say he downloads this Netflix data... he's got enough info to be 84% sure that the only record that has your birthdate, gender. and ZIP code, is you. Worse yet, if he had your ZIP+4, the only way there'd be any ambiguity left is if you live with a twin.

Re:Someone else would have to have (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456284)

And even if there are 2 matching accounts, a little bit of guesswork from information known about the person can remove the ambiguity. Look for foreign-language films if they are an immigrant, films or shows that appeal to their occupation (Dilbert cartoon or the IT Crowd for someone here, The Real World or Jersey Shore for someone at Abercrombie) or hobbies (musician, car person, etc), and boom, suddenly you know that the applicant watches softcore porn/disney shows/GLBT interest film.

Re:Someone else would have to have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31456692)

puh-lease... I watch a fair amount of foreign language films, not because I'm an immigrant, but because they're better than some of the mainstream trash here in the U.S. I also work in IT, and have never watched the IT Crowd, nor find Dilbert particularly funny (and therefore don't read/watch it) I'm a pretty serious biker, but I've never watched the typical biker movie "Breaking Away"... so much for your hobbies theory....I think you place to much stock in stereotypes....

Re:Someone else would have to have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31457348)

Well done, you've proved that individual cases don't always conform to an average. What was your point again?

Re:Someone else would have to have (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31457380)

Right, because the grandparent was totally saying that every single person on Earth conforms perfectly to stereotypes. Or you're an idiot. One of the two.

Re:Someone else would have to have (2, Informative)

winomonkey (983062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456316)

I am curious which passport you have that includes your address. If I recall correctly, mine does not have an address in it. To verify, I looked to see what goes into a passport [wikipedia.org] :
  • Photograph
  • Type [of document, which is "P" for "passport"]
  • Code [of the issuing country, which is "USA" for "United States of America"]
  • Passport No.
  • Surname
  • Given Name(s)
  • Nationality [which is "United States of America"]
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth (lists only the state followed by "USA" for those born in the United States)
  • Sex
  • Date of Issue
  • Date of Expiration
  • Authority
  • Endorsements

No address. A passport will not tell your employer where you live. At best, they will know which state you were born in.

Re:Someone else would have to have (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458754)

So you have a job where your employer doesn't know where you live?

Re:Someone else would have to have (1)

winomonkey (983062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31460200)

Actually, they do not know where I live. They need a mailing address, not a home address, and that is what they have. I use online systems for most of my regular documents from them, and use interoffice mail for most of the rest. There is a rare occasion where they send something to my mailing address (tax forms, etc). None of this really matters, anyways, as the Netflix account is in the wife-to-be's name.

Re:Someone else would have to have (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458956)

99% chance that your boss doesn't know enough to mine the data, and he wouldn't care what movies you've been watching even if he did know.

Re:Someone else would have to have (2, Insightful)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 4 years ago | (#31460620)

For now. If this kind of data-leak became common, you can bet there would emerge specialist firms/consultants to do the mining, perhaps as a value-add onto a more general background check.

Vigilance.

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (2, Insightful)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456346)

Why does Netflix need to release something as precise as a birthday in order to make movie recommendations? I mean, TV ratings are done in demographic groups. Couldn't Netflix get away by just stating a birth year?

I was born on Dec 4th so I am partial to movies about Pearl Harbor.

I'm sure people born on or around Dec 25th feel differently about Christmas movies than others.

You comb through enough data you'll find patterns. Who knows.

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456402)

Because there is a higher probability that a girl will rent 16 candles on her 16th birthday.

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

OnlyJedi (709288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456632)

For that matter, why the person's zip code? I can understand that geography may play a role in people's tastes (coasts vs central America, urban vs. rural), but the full zip code is overkill. Just give the decade of birth and state of residence, and if necessary the size of the town/city the user is from, bucketing them into groups like 100-1000, 1000-10000, etc). That should give enough data (approximate age, geography, urban vs. rural vs. suburban) to the researchers without being specific enough to identify any one person.

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 4 years ago | (#31458834)

Because that would be pretty much useless. I'm from Denmark, within a radius of 15 miles from my home you will find some of the poorest people in Denmark and some of the richest, several 100 zip codes (Copenhagen), and taste varying from the finest art to hardcore rave.

You need to be way more specific than what state the person lives in, ZIP + quater and year of birth might be "enough".

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31462572)

I think what he's saying is that it would be sufficient to label a person as being from Copenhagen. Don't forget, the age and zip code are secondary classifications. The primary data is the list of movies they watch. So, you don't need the zip code to determine who enjoys the finest art and the most hardcore rave. They are already distinct.

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

zkp (1634437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456668)

In the original netflix competition the data they did not release birthdays, zip codes or gender. Every movie and user was given a unique (presumably random) id. Essentially the data you had to work with was a bunch of tuples: (movie id, user id, rating (1-5), date) Netflix claims they even added some random noise (changing the dates/ratings a little bit) to preserve anonymity. Turns out even this isn't enough to guarantee anonymity...it turns out you can cross reference this data with imdb to look for similar date/ratings patterns and re-identify a lot of the people. See the paper: "How to break the Anonymity of the Netflix Prize dataset" (http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.100.3581&rep=rep1&type=pdf)

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

zkp (1634437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457070)

In the original netflix competition the data they did not release birthdays, zip codes or gender. Every movie and user was given a unique (presumably random) id. Essentially the data you had to work with was a bunch of tuples:

(movie id, user id, rating (1-5), date)

Netflix claims they even added some random noise (changing the dates/ratings a little bit) to preserve anonymity. Turns out even this isn't enough to guarantee anonymity...you can cross reference this data with IMDB to look for similar date/ratings patterns and re-identify a lot of the people.

See the paper: How to break the Anonymity of the Netflix Prize dataset [psu.edu]

Re:It's time to play... Name That Person! (1)

OrangeCatholic (1495411) | more than 4 years ago | (#31462610)

Are you sure about this? I briefly looked over the paper and found it unconvincing. The first half is mostly bold claims like:

With 8 movie ratings (of which 2 may be completely wrong) and dates
that may have a 3-day error, 96% of Netflix subscribers whose records
have been released can be uniquely identified in the dataset.

And then the second half is a tremendous amount of math. I didn't see any evidence that the authors actually de-anonymized a single person, let alone 96% of them.

Besides, how do you download imdb's data in order to perform this massive cross-reference?

Re:It's time to play... Astrology! (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457464)

My gf knows a lot about astrology, and believes it has an influences on your personality. A good recommendation engine could use this information along with everything else. Your birth year is significant, but it doesn't run 1 Jan to 25 Dec. I'm not sure if this is based on the Chinese calendar or if that's a separate data point... but in order to identify your sign and year, you need to know the exact date.

I don't lend astrology much credence, but if you're going to tell me it doesn't work I'd like some repeatable science on it, or at least download the dataset yourself and see if any patterns emerge before just saying it doesn't work. I haven't tried it myself, because I don't think I know enough about astrology to correlate significant data points. Of course, people lie about their birth date (I do, and at least one other in this thread does) so you're analyzing self-reported birth dates, not actual ones, making science cry.

Sad, but no need to cancel the whole contest (4, Insightful)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455400)

This is definitely a sad outcome to all of this. However, couldn't Netflix just update their EULA and/or have an opt-in for users who want to make the experience better?

Re:Sad, but no need to cancel the whole contest (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455536)

Well, Netflix needs to at least start over because the data set they disclosed is the point of the issue here.

Munge the privacy info (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456408)

Why don't they munge the privacy info, instead of saying a account belongs to John Smith, say it belongs to 1122113.

No one except netflix will know who exactly 1122113 is.

Re:Munge the privacy info (1)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456574)

This is exactly what they do.

The problem is (and someone figured this out), John Smith might ALSO have a IMDB account. And if we compare the date and star ratings from his IMDB account with his Netflix accout, we can accurately figure out who 1122113 is. Some people actually did this.... that is, took the completely anonymous ratings, and used those ratings to match up with an unanonymous source, and figure out information.

So Netflix is doing it right, I think. It's just that the Netflix data can be used IN COMBINATION with other sources to reveal identities.

Re:Munge the privacy info (1)

zkp (1634437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456980)

See the paper "How to Break the Privacy of the Netflix Prize Dataset"

I disagree that Netflix did it right. We live in a day and age where there are many sources of auxiliary information publicly available (IMDB, voter registration, etc...). Any attempt to preserve anonymity must take this into account. All to often companies leave out specific pieces of information (name, DOB, Zip Code etc...) and hope that what remains is anonymous. No one could ever identify me based on just a couple of movie ratings, right?

Re:Sad, but no need to cancel the whole contest (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456598)

That is possible, but they still can't do the study they want to do today, because the information they have collected up to the point people start checking the tickyboxes was collected without the permission to release it.

If they implemented the opt-in this week, they'd start collecting data and they'd probably have some useful data NEXT year.

However, that also leads to some interesting questions about data validity. A valid study uses truly random data from a full range of customers. The new study, if done, would use data from ONLY customers who are unconcerned about the privacy implications AND are engaged enough to actually take action to opt in. Based on that demographic, they would need to remove "The X Files", "Enemy of the State", and just about any movie or series that has the slightest hint of government conspiracy-ism in it, because no customers in the study would EVER rent them.

Anyone informed enough to know there is an opt-in is probably going to be informed enough to know it won't really help them. Anyone uninformed of the issues would also not know about the opt-in. You might get a 10% opt-in rate if you're lucky, and most of those people incessantly post what movie they are watching on Twitter anyway, or maintain a Facebook "favorite movies" list, so you can get more accurate and more in-depth data from a larger audience with a lot less effort (grin).

Just make a "Netflix" fan page on Facebook, and as soon as people join you get to see their favorite movies lists, and chances are you also get their approximate location and birthdate.

Problem solved!

Wow (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455438)

I don't know if people are just paranoid or what, but they seem to be intent on protecting EVERYTHING nowadays. Next thing you know, people will get sued for asking whether you put the toilet paper roll facing away from the wall or towards it.

For the record, it's away from the wall, you savages.

Re:Wow (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455472)

The libraries here post signs saying that they'll strictly protect your privacy, but if there's a law enforcement person who cites the PATRIOT Act, they have to give it all away.

Re:Wow (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455500)

Not sure who's sig it is, but someone around here has it set to:

"Knock Knock"
"Who's there?"
"Under the Patriot Act, we don't have to tell you."

It would be awesome...if it wasn't so true |:/

Re:Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31455648)

That's what you get for electing a brain trust like George W Bush.

Re:Wow (0, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455810)

We didn't :p

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31457696)

What's the difference? Libertarians are just the loyal lapdogs of Bush and the GOP.

Re:Wow (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457262)

The libraries here post signs saying that they'll strictly protect your privacy, but if there's a law enforcement person who cites the PATRIOT Act, they have to give it all away.

That is precisely why good library circulation software does not preserve that information indefinitely.
If you need to be reminded that you already read a book or rented a movie 3 years ago, you could probably stand to see it again. The convenience factor is minimal compared to the (almost) worst case scenario of a federal investigation. (The worst case is of course when they decide to skip the investigation.)

Re:Wow (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455624)

There's really only one thing people get sued for: having money.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455948)

Sometimes they get sued for having insurance.

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455946)

...you put the toilet paper roll facing away from the wall or towards it. For the record, it's away from the wall, you savages.

Assuming "away" means "over", then you must not have pets. A kitten can easily unspool a whole roll like that. Having it facing the wall (or "under") prevents that.

Perhaps that makes me a savage, but at least I'm a neat savage. :-)

Re:Wow (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456148)

I have a toothy orange two year old cat named Fizzgigg (yes, after the toothy puffball from The Dark Crystal...it's a very appropriate name for this animal, I assure you). She leaves the toilet paper alone...her thing is hair ties.

Toss a hair tie, and she'll chase after it...and bring it back to you. Over. And over. And Over. She plays freakin' fetch, lol

Re:Wow (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456266)

The girlfriend has a cat that will take your straw out of the cup (sometimes not knocking it over) and will bring it to your feet over and over playing fetch.

Re:Wow (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31463456)

Right. Hair ties are fragile, though, and chewy -- the cat (my cats, anyway) tend to bite them in two, and then they're no longer interesting.

Try a milk ring sometime. You know, that little red/orange/yellow/blue ring under the cap of a gallon of milk. I've got a cat that will chase one of these around, independently, for several unbroken hours before he gets bored with it, which is really quite something since he's approximately bloody ancient these days.

And: They're free with every gallon.

(-1 way off-topic, but at least I didn't post this at +1.)

Re:Wow (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456250)

That and the fact that when you use the double rolls and the over placement they tend to bump into the wall and the friction causes the paper to tear prematurely. So then you have to make a decision. Is that enough sheets, or do I want to try to stack it on top of what you already have, and then balance it while you try to get it behind you. (Sometimes there are multiple attempts stacked...) If it falls off in the process (you may not notice... what I have heard anyhow) you won't have enough paper for it to do it's job and protect your hand. Or you could of course use a little more and wrap it around what you already have and negate the stack approach, but by then you have often used as much as you would have had the paper not been torn and possibly clog the toilet.

  Yes, yes I know I have over analyzed this. But I buy double rolls to save money and time. I can't get the girlfriend to put it the way I like it, and so I either switch it, or carefully think about not ripping the paper. It has now become that I see the roll balanced on top of the last empty one because she knows I will likely turn it around, and she won't just do it the way I like. So now the situation has gone and got to be more trouble than it was worth! C'est_la_vie...

Re:Wow (1)

Uzuri (906298) | more than 4 years ago | (#31538120)

My cats must be smarter than your cats -- they're quite capable of emptying a whole roll no matter which way it's spooled. Then they open the cupboard and take all the stored rolls out and do them in as well.

Re:Wow (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456306)

There's a reason they call it a guily pleasure.

Re:Wow (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456486)

For the record, it's away from the wall, you savages.

Your the savage I have a stream of cold water shoot up my ass followed by a nice breeze since there is no wiping I don't even have to wipe my hands. High 5 anyone.

Re:Wow (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456738)

Unless you have cats.

Re:Wow (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456836)

I don't know if people are just paranoid or what, but they seem to be intent on protecting EVERYTHING nowadays.

That's GOOD. I'm not happy that the second Netflix prize is canceled, and that the data of the first prize has been removed from UCI, but protecting privacy is IMPORTANT.

Anonymizing data (ie while keeping all other statistical properties intact) is a very hard problem. Solving it properly is a huge prize itself that would revolutionize Science, and there's no reason to blame the researchers who find the leaks in published datasets, or the people who sue for breach of privacy on that basis.

Hiding the flaws under the carpet for expediency is not going to get us closer to that goal. On the contrary, if we want quality datasets made available to the public in the future, we should keep standards of anonymity as strict as possible and learn how to do it better.

Re:Wow (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457198)

For the record, it's away from the wall, you savages.

We have a kitten. Towards the wall is the only way to keep her from unrolling an entire spool.
Unless you'd argue that forcibly restraining a kitten is the less-savage option. :) Other than TP, it's the safest and sunniest room in the house to leave her alone in.
But maybe we're just paranoid.

Re:Wow (1)

Weirsbaski (585954) | more than 4 years ago | (#31460954)

I don't know if people are just paranoid or what, but they seem to be intent on protecting EVERYTHING nowadays.

It's a reaction because of organizations that insist on protecting nothing. The douchebag orgs kind of ruined it for everyone.

I have to agree (4, Funny)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31455722)

I bet there are thousands of guys out there scared to death that someone will find out they rented Twilight (for the girlfriend, honest!). I'd rather be known as a lawyer-happy jerk than a Twilight fan.

Re:I have to agree (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456168)

Ok, I admit it. I rented Twilight. Not for my wife, either. I was just curious. You know.... an experimental phase.

You know what I learned? I'm getting old. 'Cause that movie sucked hard. Holy crap, was that one boring, boring, boring movie. I can't really convey how terrible it was. And the way that I know I'm now officially getting old is that I can't even see how a pre-teen could find it entertaining. It didn't even really do a good job of conveying teen angst, or alienation, or much of anything. Just a lot of sullen looks and staring contests.

Actually, the only way I can really describe it is as the bastard lovechild of MTV's "The Hills" fake reality show and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Only instead of somewhat interesting characters and lots of action in a teen-angsty world, you get "The Hills" style crap dialog with lots of long pauses and staring into the distance. Even the action was boring.

I cannot for the life of me see how anyone old enough to have ever seen an actual movie before could have rated that thing anything other than a complete zero. It wasn't even good enough to be bad .. in fact it was kind of orthogonal to anything on the good/bad scale. It was just a big, lame, slow, turd that never went anywhere.

There. I got that off my chest. Ok. I feel better now that I admitted it.

Re:I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31456524)

fag

Re:I have to agree (1)

AdamTrace (255409) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456596)

My wife and I just rented it, too. Just to see.

I stopped watching at the vampire softball scene. Ugh, so bad.

Re:I have to agree (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31456666)

No, no, this is Slashdot, it's OK to vent. Tell us what you REALLY think about it. You sound ambivalent.

If it wasn't good enough to be bad, was it at least bad enough to be good? In a "Plan Nine From Outer Space" / Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of way? Could Mike (or Joel) and the 'bots save this snoozefest and turn it into a laughfest, or at least make it chuckle-worthy?

Or was it, as they say, just a large sack of suck?

Re:I have to agree (1)

spxero (782496) | more than 4 years ago | (#31457638)

I made it to about minute 45 before I couldn't take anymore. If a movie can't get *somewhere* in 45 minutes, it's really just bad.

There wasn't enough dialog for MST3K to work with. GP was right- it's just a long, boring staring contest. How this crap is even popular is beyond me. My wife's friend swore up and down that I need to read the books... no thanks. That's why I want to watch the movie- reading the book series for a couple weeks appeals even less than sitting through a 2hr+ movie.

On XKCD suck scale ( http://xkcd.com/653/ [xkcd.com] ), it's somewhere around the Star Wars Holiday Special. But less entertaining.

Re:I have to agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31457768)

Twilight the movie sucks. The only people who like it read the books, which I'm sure, while probably not high fiction, obviously hits some kind of nerve. I haven't read the books, but my sister did and she was in high twilight fever when the movie came out.

Fortunately for those in the movie business,

Now that the fever has left, she hates the movie :P

Re:I have to agree (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31456442)

Just wondering, what's your zip code and birthdate?

Google Announces ShutDown Over Privacy Concerns (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31456084)

Remember: Do NO Evil !

Thanks for nothing.

Yours In Ashgabat,
Kilgore Trout

Privacy paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31456734)

They're definitely being more careful privacy-wise now, almost to the point of paranoia in my opinion. The best example is a feature that was supposed to be released over 7 months ago - still sitting in development while they debate privacy issues.

The feature was supposed to allow developers to get all the titles a user has rated, along with the associated ratings. You can already see the user's rating for a particular title by querying that title, and you can also see all the titles a user has watched on Netflix, but for some reason they think that an API method to return all ratings is a separate privacy issue. (To access any of the previously mentioned data the user must explicitly sign into Netflix through your application, obviously)

This is rather unfortunate since it would be useful for many Netflix apps to have these ratings, since people may rate items they haven't watched/rented from Netflix.

Should social networks be able to sell user data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31458498)

Interesting tie-in to this story over on ReadWriteWeb where there's a lively discussion on whether or not social networks should be able to sell data about users.

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/myspace_bulk_data.php#comment-196403

"The Netflix Prize II cancellation is another example of why we need a lot more discussion around these issues. Here we have a great example (Netflix Prize I) of how the simple availability of data had a huge impact on the science and the business of computational/algorithmic recommendation and machine learning. It seems that for a tiny sum, $50K, Netflix and all the others who want to help create a world in which advertising and recommendation are helpful rather than an annoyance, could have continued this outstanding work with a bit of standard automatic data masking. Crazy!"

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