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Bergen Record Subscribers: Your Personal Information Is Shared Without Your Permission


Bergen Record Subscribers: Your Personal Information Is Shared Without Your Permission

If you have a Facebook account and watched videos at any of the following Gannett-owned newspapers, your data has been shared:

  • Austin American-Statesman
  • AZCentral | The Arizona Republic
  • The Bergen Record
  • com | The Enquirer
  • The Columbus Dispatch
  • The Des Moines Register
  • The Detroit Free Press
  • IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • The Tennessean

The viewing data of subscribers of The Bergen Record is transmitted to Facebook.  A subscription to your local newspaper should never lead to your identity or personal information being compromised.  But this is what happens to subscribers of Gannett Company-owned (“Gannett”) newspapers.  Gannett and The Bergen Record transmit viewer data to Facebook.  Such data may include personally identifiable information, such as your unique Facebook User ID, and video data including, but not limited to, the title and location of the videos viewed.  If you’d like to know if your information has been transmitted, or have any other questions, please click the button below. 

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For Facebook users, many websites utilize temporary Facebook files stored on your computer to communicate your video watching history to Facebook, along with a unique Facebook ID which allows third parties to identify you and keep track of videos you’ve watched.           

In 1988, Congress passed the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”).  The VPPA protects against video subscription services sharing video watching history tied with other personal information which could be used to identify you.  Video subscription services include websites like Hulu that utilize subscription fees to unlock content, and other types of websites that require registration for accounts, like newsletters, which are embedded with videos.

Video subscription services may be exempt from VPPA protections afforded to users if they obtain informed, written consent from users.  The written consent must be in a form distinct and separate from any form setting forth other legal or financial obligations of the consumer.  Put more simply, your agreement to waive VPPA protections should be an additional agreement on top of agreement to general Terms of Service.

Many websites do not properly inform and/or obtain sufficient written consent to exempt their sharing of your video watching history tied to your unique Facebook ID.  Such practices may be violating your rights established under VPPA and similarly structured state protective acts.

There is an investigation regarding potential claims against Gannett-owned newspapers, relating to inappropriate sharing of personally identifiable information and video watching history to a third party. Specifically, Gannett may be sharing your Facebook identification and video watching history with Facebook without first asking for your permission.

If you are a current or former subscriber to a Gannett-owned website or newsletter and wish to discuss your legal rights, please click the button below. 

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