Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the much-discussed update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 and the Video Privacy Protection of 1988 (“VPPA”).  The Committee adopted Senator Leahy’s manager’s amendment (which we discussed here), with a minor modification proposed by Senators Cornyn and Lee. 

Senator Feinstein also offered an amendment to the VPPA portion of the bill.  In its original form, the bill provided that a consumer could consent to the disclosure of her video viewing information to a third party “in advance for a set period of time or until consent is withdrawn by the consumer.” Under Feinstein’s amendment , which the Committee adopted, the “set period of time” for which a person may provide consent would be limited to one year.  Feinstein noted that her office had been in contact with Netflix about the amendment.    

Senator Leahy acknowledged that no further action would be taken on the bill in this Congress.  But he pledged to work with new House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte on ECPA and VPPA reform in the next Congress.