A VHS-era privacy law in the Digital Age

Briddy/Shutterstock, TechCrunch

Congress passed the VPPA in 1988 in response to the Washington City Paper’s publication of a list of videos that Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork rented at his local video store. The VPPA prohibits “video tape service providers” from disclosing “personally identifiable information” about their consumers’ requests or purchases of “specific video materials” without the consumers’ written consent. […] On April 29, the illogical and unclear nature of the VPPA became crystal clear when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit allowed a VPPA claim to proceed against Gannett. The plaintiff claimed that USA TODAY’s mobile app did not obtain adequate consent before providing Adobe with information including the title of the video viewed on the app, the device’s GPS coordinates and unique device identifiers. – Jeffrey Kosseff, TechCrunch