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Cable TV Privacy (was Re: InfoWar)


Scott Brickner writes:

> David G. Koontz writes:
> > 
> >>Industry representatives played down the privacy loopholes.
> >>Ronald Plesser, a Washington attorney who represents online
> >>services and direct marketing firms, said, "I know of no
> >>example of anybody trafficking in e-mail descriptions." A
> >>spokeswoman for Hughes Electronics Corp.'s DirecTV said, "We
> >>do not release names of customers that ordered movies.
> > 
> >The name of the customer of a video tape rental may be disclosed
> >only under narrow constraints (USC 18 Chap 121 2710):

> Didn't you read the post?  The whole point was that the constraints
> *don't* cover many *new* technology.  Sure, your local video store
> can't release the data, but your *cable* company is under no such
> constraint with regard to pay-per-view.  Ditto with Hughes DirecTV.

Local cable TV companies *are* constrained re recordkeeping about
consumer choices and disclosure of that data - see 47 USC 551, the
"Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992".
They must disclose at the time you sign up for service and once
yearly what data they keep about your watching/purchasing choices, and
who that data is disclosed to. They must dispose of that data when it
is no longer useful for the purpose for which it was collected. 
Consumers get liquidated damages of the greater of $100 per day or
$1000, plus attorney's fees and (maybe) punitive damages.

But I agree that cable TV != DirecTV, and that Hughes seems to be
unregulated in this field.

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