Google Hit With Privacy Suit Over Streaming Video Rental Records

A Minnesota resident is suing Google for allegedly violating a state privacy law by retaining records of the movies he streamed.

In a class-action complaint filed Friday, Burke Minahan of Minneapolis alleges that Google maintains a record of every video he rented from the platform since 2018, when he first used the company's streaming rental service.

He claims Google is violating a Minnesota privacy law that requires “videotape service providers” to destroy personally identifiable information no later than one year when it's no longer needed by the company that collected it.

That law allows consumers to sue for at least $500 in damages.

“Google has stored and continues to store plaintiff Minahan’s personal information in violation of the protections established by the Minnesota legislature,” his attorney alleges in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. “On information and belief, Google’s policy and intention is to store plaintiff Minahan’s personal information, including video rental history, indefinitely.”



Minnesota lawmakers passed the measure after Congress enacted 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.

The federal 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.

Minahan is seeking to proceed on behalf of all Minnesota residents who rented streaming video from Google.

Google hasn't yet responded to MediaPost's request for comment.

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