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Hulu lawsuit involving user data will proceed

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A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Hulu will proceed to trial. According to The Wire today, the lawsuit alleges that Hulu shared information about users’ viewing history with Facebook and an analytics company without a user agreement. U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of California decided the lawsuit could proceed when it was declared that plaintiffs didn’t need to show actual injury.

The law protecting the viewers is the Video Privacy Protection Act that was put in place in 1988 to protect the privacy of people who rented videos. Hulu’s argument was even if users qualified as “aggrieved” persons under the law, actual damages would need to be demonstrated.

Hulu’s lawsuit was from before an amendment was added last year that allows companies to avoid liability with a user agreement. The consumer class-action lawsuit was launched in 2011, according to Hollywood Reporter. It seeks $2,500 per violation as well as putative damages.

Plaintiffs claim that video choices were sent to a research unit as well as Facebook registration that allowed the company to identify who was watching what. This allowed third parties to engage in targeted marketing and advertising.

A Hulu spokeswoman declined to comment on the decision as part of Hulu’s policy to refrain from discussing ongoing legal matters.

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