HBO Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over Data Privacy

HBO was the target of a class-action lawsuit on Tuesday. It claimed that it shared subscribers’ viewing history to Facebook in violation of federal privacy law.

Bursor and Fisher, a class action law firm, filed the suit in New York federal court on behalf of two HDTV Max subscribers, Angel McDaniel, and Constance Simon. According to the suit, HBO provided customer lists to Facebook that allowed Facebook to match viewing habits with customers’ Facebook profiles.

According to the suit, HBO did not obtain consent from its subscribers for this purpose and violated the Video Privacy Protection Act. After a reporter obtained Robert Bork’s rental history from a video shop, the act was adopted in 1988.

Over the past decade, several streaming services, including Hulu and AMC Networks, have faced similar claims under the VPPA. Hulu was ruled in favor in 2015. He found that Hulu did not intend to transmit any data to Facebook that could have been used to determine an individual’s viewing habits. The issue is still contested.

According to the lawsuit, HBO knew that Facebook could combine these data since it is a major advertiser and uses this information to retarget Facebook ads at its subscribers.

HBO Max’s privacy policy is available on its website. It discloses that it and its affiliates use cookies to deliver personalized advertisements, among other things. However, the VPPA requires subscribers to give separate consent for sharing their video viewing history.

The lawsuit stated that a standard privacy policy would not suffice.

This same law firm represented Hearst in a case against Hearst. The company was accused of violating Michigan’s video privacy laws by selling subscriber information. Hearst settled the case for $50 million.

HBO did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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