Hulu Privacy Class Appeals to 9th Circuit

      SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Consumers who claim Hulu shared their private information with Facebook appealed their proposed class action to the 9th Circuit after a federal judge tossed the privacy lawsuit.
     The proposed class in 2011 claimed Hulu “repurposed” its browser cache so market analysts could store their private data.
     Hulu consistently disputed the claims that it used the market analysts, or that it used Facebook “like” buttons to store users’ data.
     Much of the litigation has focused on the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which Congress enacted in 1988 after a newspaper published the video-rental history of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.
     The case has been whittled down, and the remaining issue is the transmission of Facebook “likes.”
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler ruled in late March that the proposed class couldn’t prove a connection between a “c_user” browser cookie sent to Facebook and the identity of a Hulu user.
     In granting summary judgment to Hulu, Beeler said the case did not seem similar to the case that gave rise to the VPAA.
     “In that type of case, the connection between a specific user and the material that he ‘requested or obtained’ is obvious. If I hand someone a slip of paper with John Doe’s name above a list of recently rented videotapes, the connection between the two will generally be apparent. This is all the more so because the information is passed between humans in a natural language. The recipient can immediately read the note and see the connection,” Beeler wrote in March.
     “This case is different. The user’s identity and that of the video material were transmitted separately (albeit simultaneously). By sending those two items Hulu did not thereby connect them in a manner akin to connecting Judge Bork to his video-rental history.”
     Five plaintiffs this week gave notice that they will appeal to the 9th Circuit.
     They are represented by attorneys from Kamberlaw in New York City, Strange & Carpenter in Los Angeles, and Parisi & Havens in Santa Monica.

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