A new bill allowing Facebook users to automatically share details of the Netflix video they’ve just watched has been signed by President Obama, with express permission for each and every share no longer required. The Video Privacy Protection Act Amendments Act now means video viewing history can be shared without demanding written consent on every occasion, opening the door to automatic posts from video streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video.
The original act, passed into law in 1988, was designed to prevent intrusion of privacy. However, in the digital age, it also hamstrung providers like Netflix from offering automatic social networking integration in the US. Whereas Netflix offers a Facebook app outside of the US, for instance, until now it could not do the same for its US users.
The US Senate cleared the law back in December, though not without some tussling in November. One previous version saw it modified to demand police warrants before emails, Facebook messages, and other documents online could be read, but it was removed after concerns about how it could affect investigations.
Now that the Act has been approved by Obama, providers like Netflix are likely to swing into action with new sharing tools that allow greater integration with Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Whether you actually want your friends to know that you sat through a five hour How It’s Made marathon is another issue, however.