Blockbuster Sued For Participating In Facebook's Beacon Program

A Texas resident has filed a federal lawsuit against Blockbuster for participating in Facebook's Beacon program, which tells members about their friends' e-commerce activity. In the lawsuit, quietly filed last week, Dallas County resident Cathryn Elaine Harris claims that Blockbuster violated the federal Videotape Privacy Protection Act by sharing information about her movie rentals and sales with Facebook without first obtaining her written consent.

Harris is seeking class-action status, and is asking for at least $2,500 for each violation of the statute, a 1988 law passed after a newspaper obtained the video rental records of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

"The Video Privacy Protection Act is an important privacy law that safeguards the information of individual who rent movies," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "If they disclosed information that's protected under the act, obviously there are going to be some real claims here," he added. The Electronic Privacy Information Center isn't involved in Harris's lawsuit.

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