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Netflix agrees to delete former customers’ rental history after a year

Netflix
Image Credit: Via Netflix

Netflix

As a Netflix customer worried about all those rental suggestions you’ve taken up from movie search site BateFlix, you can rest assured that your rental history will remain anonymous even to the company itself — kinda.

Yesterday, new U.S. District Court documents from a Netflix class action lawsuit revealed that the company has agreed to delete movie rental history of its former customers roughly one year after canceling their monthly service. PaidContent points out that the case was originally started nearly a year ago by Netflix and settled in February for $9 million, with $6.75 million going to various privacy organizations. But the company never mentioned the changes in its policies until now.

The class action suit dealt with accusations that Netflix violated the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). As VentureBeat previously reported, the VPPA is an antiquated law that prohibits companies like Netflix from sharing a person’s movie-rental history. The law passed in 1988 after Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental records were published in a news publication. At the time, the law seemed to make sense because a person’s video rental history does have the potential to affect public opinion about that person.

Netflix basically concedes to a stipulation within the VPPA, as noted by the plaintiff in the court documents that say, “as soon as practicable, but no later than one year from the date the information is no longer necessary for the purpose for which it was collected.” And that’s exactly what Netflix is doing.