First Facebook Beacon Lawsuit Hits Blockbuster

As if Blockbuster didn’t have enough problems trying to justify its existence by making an ill-conceived buyout offer for Circuit City. Now, it is being sued for privacy violations related to its Beacon ads on Facebook. And, no, the plaintiff is not Michael, although he did once point out that the way Blockbuster used the names and images of Facebook members without permission to hawk its service could be a violation of their privacy rights. It could also be a violation of the Videotape Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits video stores from sharing customer rental information without written consent. The plaintiff is a woman in Texas, who is suing under that law and seeking class-action status.

It is not clear whether other Beacon partners are at legal risk, since the law in question only applies to video rental businesses. But there are other privacy laws that could be brought into play as well. Regardless, lawsuits like this could revive last year’s Beacon backlash that seems to have died away.