Netflix-Facebook sharing bill signed into law

Posted by Emma Woollacott

President Obama has signed a bill allowing Facebook users to automatically share which Netflix videos they've been watching.

Non-American users of Netflix have long had the ability to link their accounts with Facebook, sharing information about their viewing. In the US, though, it's been illegal until now.

Obama's approval means that Netflix can now integrate its subscriber’s accounts with Facebook’s Open Graph and Timeline, providing customers agree. Netflix and its competitiros will need to give users a clear way of stopping the sharting, which will in any case lapse automatically after two years unless renewed.
 
Until now, the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act has meant that sharing such information on social media sites meant getting either written permission for every single video, or a warrant from the police.

It was signed into law in what was surely a bit of a knee-jerk reaction after the Washington City Paper published a list of the videos rented by Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

Nobody really objected to the new bill when it came before the House and Senate last year. But this hadn't always been the case.

An earlier version contained a requirement, added by Senator Patrick Leahy, that would have required law enforcement to get a search warrant before accessing email, Facebook messages and other data stored in the cloud.

While the requirement was later taken out, Leahy is believed to be planning another attempt to introduce the restriction.