Hulu: “Anonymous” Data Not Covered By VPPA
DE-IDENTIFICATION—U.S.July 24, 2013
In new court papers filed last week, Hulu argues that sharing “anonymous” data about its users’ viewing habits with third parties is not a violation of the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), MediaPost News reports. Filed with U.S. District Court Judge Laurel Beeler in San Fransisco, the company wrote, “Hulu cannot be liable for disclosing anonymous user ID to comScore or Nielsen or to any other service provider.” Hulu acknowledges it shares users’ viewing histories, but removes names and any other identifying information. Instead, it assigns each user with an anonymous user ID prior to transmitting the data. In the class-action lawsuit filed against the company, users allege that third parties with whom the data is shared can re-identify the information. Hulu said it stopped the practice allowing such re-identification two years ago.