Seattle Seahawks Fans – Get up to $2,500 in Compensation

Seahawks website data breach

Seattle Seahawks fans who watch their games on their team’s websites may be entitled up to $2,500 in compensation for video privacy violations.

Seahawks website data breach website

What Did the Seahawks Do Wrong?

A subscription to your favorite NFL team should never lead to your identity or personal information being compromised. Yes, this is apparently what happened to subscribers of NFL team newsletters. Personal data illegally shared may include sensitive information, such as your unique Facebook User ID, your tastes, and your viewing habits.  The law entitles fans to recover up to $2,500 for tracking their video consumption.  More details about how to collect can be found at NFL Video Surveillance Violation.

Fans File A Class Action

A class action Complaint filed on Oct. 27 alleges that the NFL knowingly failed to protect the personal information of video watchers on their teams’ websites. The complaint covers Seattle Seahawks fans.

So for users of Facebook, many websites utilize temporary Facebook files stored on your computer to communicate your video-watching history to Facebook, along with a unique Facebook ID that allows third parties to identify you and keep track of videos you’ve watched, as well as potentially other sensitive information.

Why Should Seahawks Fans Be Concerned?

Tracking video activity without permission is a growing and disturbing trend that permits big-business to build big data on their users.  Although at first blush it may not seem to be a big deal, consider that just days ago Amazon announced a server leak that exposed the video viewing habits of 215 million Amazon Prime Video users. The details disclosed included the device used for streaming the content and similar internal data such as subscription information and network quality.  Allowing streaming services to gain such in-depth knowledge about your tastes and viewing habits is an invasion of privacy that many users don’t consider until for example there is a breach and all their personal information is put on public display.

The VPPA Law

In 1988, Congress passed the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”).  The VPPA, therefore, protects against video subscription services sharing video-watching history tied with other personal information which could be used to identify you.

Video streaming services may obtain an exemption from VPPA protections if they obtain informed, written consent from users.  However, the written consent must be in a form distinct and separate from any form setting forth other legal or financial obligations of the consumer.  In other words, your agreement to waive VPPA protections should be a separate, distinct additional agreement on top of the agreement to general Terms of Service.  It should clearly explain what the streaming service is going to be tracking and ask for your express consent.

Many websites do not properly inform and/or obtain sufficient written consent to exempt their sharing of your viewing history.  Therefore, such practices may be violating your rights established under VPPA and similarly structured state protective acts and may entitle users to compensation up to $2,500.  More detail about this can be found here.

What NFL Teams Are the Violators?

What Can Seahawks Fans Do?

The data tracked is hard to identify.  However, there is some comfort in that the VPPA allows Seattle Seahawks fans to potentially collect compensation.  Perhaps that may affect change going forward.

NFL Privacy Violation Information Home Page
NFL Teams Video Privacy Violation Information Page