On November 29, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit joined the Third Circuit in narrowly defining “personally identifiable information” under the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), holding in Eichenberger v. ESPN that the disclosure of a unique device identifier does not violate the act.1

The VPPA was passed in 1988 in response to the Washington City Paper obtaining and publishing the video rental history of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.2 The act was intended “to preserve personal privacy with respect to the rental, purchase or delivery of video tapes or similar audio visual materials.”3 To that end, the VPPA creates a private cause of action against a “video tape service provider”4 who “knowingly discloses … personally identifiable information.”5 The statute defines “personally identifiable information,” as “information which identifies an individual as having requested or obtained specific video materials or services from a video tape service provider.” Violators can be subject to statutory damages, punitive damages, and other penalties.6Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Narrowly Defines “Personally Identifiable Information” Under the VPPA