PhotoIn a land where just about everyone shares just about everything on Facebook and elsewhere, it's a little surprising that it's illegal to share your movie-viewing habits online.  Not the movies themselves, mind you, just what you watched last night.

Believe it or not, it will take an act of Congress to correct the situation.  The House took the first step yesterday, approving a bill that will make it legal for you to share your Netflix viewing habits on Facebook. 

It was hardly unanimous though.  The bipartisan measure squeaked through as 116 members voted against it (roll call here).

If the Senate approves the measure, the United States will join the 44 other nations whose citizens are able to integrate their accounts to share their Netflix viewing habits on Facebook.

Music services like Spotify have been successfully doing this for months with, as far as anyone knows, no cataclysmic events.  Don't want your high-toned friends to know you listen to Hoobastank?  Just turn off sharing in your Spotify account panel.

Say what?

How did this all get strted?

Back in the quaint old 1980s, privacy advocates were fearful that evil-doers would get their hands on our movie rental accounts and tell the world how trashy our tastes were. So a 1988 bill called the Video Privacy Protection Act was enacted outlawing the disclosure of one's video rental information.

Getting it updated hasn't been easy though.  The bill approved yesterday, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) adds a sentence-length amendment to the original law but it wasn't without controversy.

Some members, including Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina, objected to the measure, saying they couldn't understand why anyone would want to do such a thing.

"I don't think he gets it," said Matt Lira, the digital communications director for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, according to Fast Company. "He doesn't use social media in his everyday life, so how can we expect him to understand the value of sharing content?"

"Spotify shows that while not everyone is going to use it [on Facebook], there are millions of people want to use it," Lira said.


Share your Comments