Earlier today, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) (H.R. 2471) that would clarify certain ambiguities in the 1988 law in light of technological changes in the marketplace.  In his remarks on the House floor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) – the primary author of H.R. 2471– explained that the amendment will facilitate the sharing of video usage information on social media networks. 

During a debate on the legislation, Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) opposed the bill as he did in the committee markup, expressing concern about the adequacy of one-time consent to the sharing of information on dynamic social media sites.  He emphasized the sensitivity of video usage information and expressed concerns about whether Congress has given sufficient thought to the impact of H.R. 2471 on state video privacy laws.  Rep. Watt also questioned the propriety of Congress acting in light of a number of pending private law suits under the VPPA.  Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) lent his support to H.R. 2471, but stated that he would have preferred the bill require consumers to renew their consent periodically.

Under the VPPA, which was passed long before the Internet was widely available, “video tape service providers” generally are not permitted to share a consumer’s video usage information without “the informed, written consent of the consumer given at the time the disclosure is sought.”  If enacted into law, H.R. 2471 would clarify this limitation in the context of online distribution in the following ways:

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Yesterday, Senator Jay Rockefeller announced that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, which he chairs, will hold a hearing on cybersecurity issues on March 29.  This is not a new issue for Senator Rockefeller or the Senate Commerce Committee, which approved cybersecurity legislation during the 111th Congress.  The Senate Homeland Security Committee had