Bill to allow Facebook users to share Netflix videos heads to president's desk

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Congress passed the Video Privacy Protection Act in 1988 after the Washington City Paper published a list of videotape rentals by Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork during his contentious nomination process. Although Bork's rental history was mostly innocuous, members of Congress were outraged at the breach of privacy.

The change in the privacy law has been Netflix's top lobbying priority in Washington.

The company spent about $555,000 through the first three quarters of this year lobbying Congress to update the law, as well as on other issues such as net neutrality. 

The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), is similar to legislation the House approved last year, H.R. 2471, but includes two changes suggested by the Senate. 

First, it requires video rental companies to give consumers a "clear and conspicuous" option to withdraw their consent to share their rental choices at all times.

Second, it requires that companies obtain a consumer's consent again every 24 months.

When the Senate Judiciary Committee voted on the earlier version of the video privacy bill last month, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) attached legislation that would have required police to obtain a warrant before reading people's emails, Facebook messages and other forms of electronic communication.

The bill that cleared Congress does not include Leahy's warrant protections, and that effort appears dead for this session.