Hulu Said to Disclose Users’ Viewing Habits

     (CN) – A class of Hulu subscribers who claim the website discloses what they watch to third parties without their consent argued that their action should continue in San Jose’s federal court.
     In their amended class action complaint, six Hulu subscribers said the video site “repurposed” its browser cache so a marketing analyst service called KISSmetrics could store their private data.
     The class also claims Hulu shared their private viewing choices with Facebook, Google Analytics, and other online market research and ad companies.
     “Hulu’s online privacy policy is misleading in that it does not disclose its use of aggressive, rogue exploits of Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ computer software to engage in widespread tracking and information sharing,” the amended complaint says.
     Hulu’s actions “are so outside the boundaries of reasonable expectations that even industry experts had not previously observed these exploits ‘in the wild,’ that is, in actual use on websites available to the public,” the complaint says.
     The class claims they suffered losses from the illegal data exploitation because their personal information has economic value as an asset exchanged for Hulu’s video services.
     Hulu moved to dismiss the action, which the class fought in a filing on Friday.
     Attorney Scott Kamber argued the plaintiffs have properly alleged an injury by claiming their rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) were violated.
     The plaintiffs were also “consumers” under the meaning of the statute even though they do not pay for Hulu services, because the dictionary definition of “subscriber” includes someone who signs up using personal information, Kamber argued.
     “The issue in the VPPA is not the form or method of video delivery. Rather, the statute concerns the protection of records about the subscriber and what the subscriber viewed,” the attorney wrote.
     “Given its purpose, there is no basis to argue that the online transfer of video content falls outside the purview of the Act,” he continued.
     In asking the court to deny Hulu’s motion to dismiss, Kamber requested an opportunity to replead if the court grants the motion.

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