If you cancelled your Netflix account and then re-join it, you will notice that your data is still on their servers. It does not matter even if you quit a year ago, Netflix still knows that you enjoyed watching “The Spy Next Door” starring Jackie Chan. Feel violated? Well Netflix has agreed to delete the user video history of former users and queue data within one year of leaving the service.
Netflix agreed to that stipulation as part of a settlement regarding a class-action privacy lawsuit filed against Netflix last year. The lawsuit had accused Netflix of violating the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). This makes it illegal for video rental services to disclose a viewer’s video habits without written consent.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of California in March 2011. The lawsuit was settled for $9 million without an admission of wrongdoing. About $6.65 million will be paid to various privacy organizations and $2.25 million will go to lawyers.
Below is a statement that Netflix sent to paidContent:
“Netflix has settled a lawsuit related to the company?s compliance with the Video Privacy Protection Act with no admission of wrongdoing. This matter is unrelated to the company?s concerns about the ambiguities contained in the VPPA, which keep Netflix from offering its U.S. members the ability to share their instant watching information with their Facebook friends, an experience Netflix members currently enjoy in 46 other countries.”
The VPPA was put into law in 1988 after the video rental history of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork was leaked and published. Nothing was interesting about Bork’s video history because it had titles like “The Man Who Knew Too Much” and “A Day at the Races.” The VPAA was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.