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The significance and extent of the right to maintain the privacy of a consumer’s private information has long been a fertile ground in litigation, especially in New York state and federal courts. The law has become increasingly protective of individuals’ privacy rights, particularly with the ever-increasing online acquisition and exchange of sensitive consumer information. Indeed, “[t]he right to privacy, part of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, protects an individual’s interest in avoiding disclosure of information about personal matters.” Pirozzi v. City of New York, 950 F. Supp. 90, 94 (S.D.N.Y. 1996).

This article discusses the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), a statute that seeks to protect the knowing unauthorized disclosure of “personally identifiable information,” related to a consumer’s video rental and sale records. This article analyzes how federal courts have defined “personally identifiable information” under prevailing law. Further, this article discusses the future of the VPPA in New York and potential considerations for counsel to New York businesses that are seeking to be compliant with the VPPA (such as the option of seeking consumer consent). Lastly, this article touches on the Video Consumer Privacy Act, the New York state law’s parallel to the VPPA.

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