These past few years have seen an explosion of video streaming services covering every genre you can possibly think of.
When you subscribe to these services, the last thing that goes through your mind is where your personal information ends up after you subscribe. You probably assumed that everything on your account, including your personal preferences, was just for the algorithm to use and nothing more.
However, HBO Max has recently been put in the spotlight in a class action lawsuit, exposing the platform’s misuse of members’ personal information.
Here’s everything we know about it and how you can benefit from this case!
What’s This Case About?
Initially filed in March of this year, this proposed class action lawsuit will represent all nationwide HBO subscribers who subscribe to HBO Max. According to the case, HBO shares its members’ personal information, which includes video preferences and personal data, with Facebook without asking their users for consent. HBO shares this data to create more personalized advertising for customers.
Besides preferences, the lawsuit also claims that HBO uses a Facebook tracking pixel to link the two profiles and simplify data transfer between the two platforms.
By connecting to Facebook, HBO advertisers can see your personal information. These personal details allow them to create ads you’re likely to click on.
These unethical actions violate the Video Privacy Protection Act, and companies who break this law can face serious consequences. If the claim wins in court, every subscriber affected by HBO’s actions could receive up to $2,500 in compensation.
How Does The Video Privacy Protection Act Work?
The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) was signed into law by President Reagan in 1988 to protect a consumer’s personal privacy.
It states that any video provider cannot share what kind of video content a customer purchased along with their name. A company can only do this if said customer gives them written permission to use their information.
For example, let’s say you recently streamed a few episodes of “Friends” on HBO Max.
By law, the platform cannot disclose that you watched the popular sitcom without you giving them a written agreement. Any company that does this is subject to criminal penalties and civil lawsuits by customers.
Why Is This Suit Important?
When you submit your information, you want to know that it’s in safe hands. You trust that the streaming service you signed up for simply stores your details without ulterior motives.
But the HBO Max case proves that some companies still have the power to use your data as they see fit.
Additionally, the VPPA was created long before streaming services were a thing. As a result, the vague language opens the law to many loopholes that dishonest companies won’t hesitate to take advantage of.
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How To Sign Up For A Claim
If you’re an HBO Max subscriber and believe the company misused your personal information, signing up to file a claim only takes a few minutes. All you need to do is visit Labaton’s website and fill out the sign-up form.
The form will ask you for information such as:
- Your Facebook Account
- If you have an HBO Max subscription
- If you watch videos on HBO’s streaming platform
- Your email address associated with the account
Be aware that this form isn’t the class action lawsuit but an individual arbitration claim, as the court will review your information separately. If your arbitration claim is successful, you can receive the payout.
The Bottom Line
As technology advances and more streaming services come up, there is a need for new privacy laws that reflect the digital landscape.
HBO Max’s actions show that current laws still need to catch up to the 21st century. Many companies will find loopholes in sharing information without explicit consent. Platforms need to be transparent about their actions, and unscrupulous companies need to be held accountable.
If you’re an HBO Max subscriber affected by the company’s actions, get started on your claim as soon as possible!
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