Senate to decide if Facebook users can share Netflix videos

The Senate could vote on an amendment next week that would roll back a 1988 law designed to keep one's video viewing private.

Greg Sandoval/CNET

Netflix users may be getting closer to being allowed to disclose to friends what videos they're watching.

The Senate could vote on an amendment next week to the Senate Cybersecurity bill that would allow this kind of sharing, according to a report in the Right now, because of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), Netflix users can disclose what other kinds of media they're enjoying but not videos.

The VPAA was implemented after reporters from the Washington City Paper obtained a list in 1988 of the videos rented by then Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork. His tastes were tame but Congress was outraged and sought to put a lid on that kind of disclosure.

The VPAA was written by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and he is also the author of the Cybersecurity bill. In all of Netflix's other international markets, the company enables users to opt-in to the sharing.

The company hopes to do the same in the United States and has spent nearly $400,000 lobbying Congress this year to roll back a law that is no longer relevant in the digital age.

About the author

Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.


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