Netflix will become sort of social source as it will be able to allow users to share their viewed movies online.
Netflix has long wanted users to link their video accounts with the social networking sites, but it hasn’t fulfilled the idea because of the Video Privacy Protection Act, which bars company from disclosing information such as video rentals.
Privacy protections took effect after Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork had his video rental history exposed in 1987 had prohibited users from doing that.
However, an amendment passed on Friday allows digital, as opposed to written, permission from users and thus makes it easier for Netflix to move forward with its social plans, CNET reports.
According to The Huffington Post, the so-called “Netflix amendment” to the Video Privacy Protection Act is now headed to the U.S. president’s desk to be signed after it was unanimously passed by the Senate a week ago.
But while the passed bill got swift action, some Americans are still hoping for email privacy safeguards.
That’s because the Senate has previously dropped an email privacy provision, a move which was expected to force domestic law enforcement agencies to get a warrant before reading your messages.
Because of a law passed in 1986, it’s not difficult for law enforcement to open email stored in cloud services like Google or Yahoo mail without a warrant.
The Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee made an attempt to change it with an amendment attached to the Video Privacy Protection Act in November. However, House Republicans never passed similar legislation.
“Changes to electronic privacy cannot happen piecemeal,” Chris Calabrese a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said after the House version of the Netflix amendment passed.
“If we are to achieve true reform – which means getting full protection for Americans’ in-boxes and private communication – we cannot give priority to special interests. If they want updates to our privacy laws, they should have to wait in line with the American people.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy announced Friday that he believed the Netflix amendment’s passage “sets the stage” for Congress to take up his email privacy bill next year.
“Like many Americans, I am concerned about the growing and unwelcome Government intrusions into our private lives in cyberspace,” the senator said in the statement.
“Last month, the Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed my legislative proposal to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”) to require a search warrant in order for the Government to obtain our email and other electronic communications stored with third-party service providers. “
He continued: “When we worked to enact ECPA in 1986, no one could have imagined the way the Internet and mobile technologies would transform how we communicate and exchange information today. But, after three decades, this critical privacy law has been outpaced by the explosion of new technologies and the expansion of the Government’s surveillance powers.”
Meanwhile, Netflix has already announced that once Obama signs its bill, it will introduce those social sharing features in 2013.