Blockbuster Sued For Privacy Violation

Dallas A patron complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has alleged that Blockbuster Inc. released private information and violated the Video Privacy Protection Act.

Texas resident, Cathryn Elaine Harris, is claiming that Blockbuster Inc. transmitted her personal information to Facebook.com through the Web site's Beacon marketing program. Harris alleged that Beacon, which Facebook launched last November, got the information from Blockbuster through computer-tracking programs without her permission.

A spokesman for Blockbuster said the company denies the allegations.

"Our alliance with Facebook included numerous levels of privacy protection built in for our online subscribers," Randy Hargrove said.

Beacon, which members could always opt out of, tracks purchases Facebook members make online and sends members' "friends" alerts about the transactions. Within a few weeks of its launch, thousands of complaints poured in from Facebook users who hadn't realized it would share their commercial activity.

Harris' lawsuit claims the damage is already done and that Blockbuster continues to share her information. She is trying to have the court certify her suit as a class action.

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