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Netflix Privacy Lawsuit: Ex-Customer’s Viewing Should Not be Kept

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By Admin on March 21, 2011 6:46 AM

Another class-action lawsuit has been filed against Netflix, this time for an alleged violation of federal privacy law regarding the protection of people who rent movies. The Netflix privacy lawsuit was filed by Peter Comstock, a resident of Virginia. Comstock alleges that Netflix has been violating the Video Privacy Protection Act on an ongoing basis, MediaPost reports. 

The plaintiffs seek $2,500 per violation of the VPPA, as well as $3,000 per violation of the Consumer Records Act, in addition to punitive damages. Netflix has been hit by a number of related class action lawsuits over the course of the past year. 

Comstock says that Netflix violated the VPPA by retaining customer data regarding users' movie rental history as well as recommendations. Congress passed the VPPA after a newspaper printed the video rental records of Judge Robert Bork in the course of his Supreme Court nomination. 

According to the lawsuit, Netflix "purposefully retains confidential information regarding both payment and video viewing habits for millions of individuals -- even after their subscriptions are canceled," reports. However, the question remains as to whether the VPPA applies to online rentals.

The VPPA specifically says it prohibits companies that sell or rent video cassette tapes "or similar audio visual materials" from recording the movie choices of consumers. Whether Netflix would qualify remains to be seen. 

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