An NBA.com subscriber has brought a privacy lawsuit against the National Basketball Association for allegedly sharing personally identifiable information about subscribers' video viewing history with Facebook.
“Without telling its digital subscribers, defendant profits handsomely from its unauthorized disclosure of its digital subscribers' personal viewing information to Facebook,” California resident Michael Salazar alleges in a class-action complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
He adds that the NBA shares subscribers' unique Facebook identifier and the video content they viewed “together as one data point.”
“Because NBA.com digital subscribers are not informed about this dissemination of their personal viewing information -- indeed, it is automatic and invisible -- they cannot exercise reasonable judgment to defend themselves against the highly personal ways NBA.com has used and continues to use data it has about them to make money for itself,” the complaint alleges.
Salazar claims that the NBA is violating the federal Video Privacy Protection Act -- a 1988 law that prohibits video rental companies from disclosing personally identifiable information about consumers' viewing history without their permission.
That law, which was passed after a Maryland newspaper obtained Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork's video rental records, has been interpreted to also cover streaming video services.
Salazar specifically alleges that the video-viewing data is combined with “unique identifiers that track specific Facebook users,” and allows the social networking platform “to build from scratch or cross-reference and add to the data it already has in their own detailed profiles for its own users.”
He is seeking class-action status on behalf of all NBA.com subscribers whose information was allegedly shared with Facebook.
The NBA has not yet responded to MediaPost's request for comment.