THE INCREDIBLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF A CLOSETED LESBIAN MOM: A closeted lesbian Mom is suing Netflix for privacy invasion, “alleging the movie rental company made it possible for her to be outed when it disclosed insufficiently anonymous information about nearly half-a-million customers as part of its $1 million contest to improve its recommendation system.”
We had to read the article a few times to get it, but it seems Netflix created a contest for really smart people to develop a new algorithm to predict what customers would like to watch, and thusly gave out customer data “with fanfare” to competitors with no regard for their customer’s privacy and without sufficient protection of the customer’s identity [customers’ names were not given out, they were identified by random digits, which the Mom claims was enough to deduce her identity. That’s true, but if she ever comments on a board or blog anywhere, we can track her down via IP address anyhow, so … well anyhow]. It’s an interesting case w/r/t public vs. private info on the internet, but we also had to ask how badly does this Franklin County, Ohio-dwelling lesbian Mom really want to be anonymous and closeted if she’s launching a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a major corporation in a new area of privacy protection law?
The suit known as Doe v. Netflix (pdf) has a few humdingers!:
Jane Doe, a lesbian, who does not want her sexuality nor interests in gay and lesbian themed films broadcast to the world, seeks anonymity in this action.
To some, renting a movie such as “Brokeback Mountainwp_postsor even “The Passion of the Christwp_postscan be a personal issue that they would not want published to the world.
The Brokeback Mountain Factor is described thusly: Our secrets, great or small, can now without our knowledge hurtle around the globe at the speed of light, preserved indefinitely for future recall in the elec- tronic limbo of computer memories. These technological and economic changes in turn have made legal barriers more essential to the preservation of our privacy.
Maybe it’s just sad that we live in a world where needing to stay in the closet is so serious that you’d actually sue a video rental company over it. We understand the principle behind it — she’s right, and it has grave implications. But surely a customer complaint would’ve been a better starting point. Maybe she just doesn’t want her girlfriend to know she liked Go Fish.
WOMAN GO TAKE YOUR PILLS: Samantha Bee investigates the White House’s initiative to ship balls around to schoolchildren and get them decorated for the White House “holiday” spirit. It’s amazing. Watch it:
FACEBOOK: So, ya know how when you logged into Facebook last week you were greeted with fancy new privacy settings? Turns out many privacy settings were also completely removed, making some information involuntarily public. (@gawker)
Relatedly, an examination of dating in a world where we tend to text, G-chat and worst of all, Facebook friend our dates before getting to know them: “It dawned on me recently on a particularly silent first date, while chewing a mouthful of appetizer, that I’d already been on a first date with this girl. Not literally, of course — just without the rubbery calamari. She and I had emailed about a half dozen times, swapped multiple texts and, in a moment of weakness, exchanged a minor flurry of G-chats. It’s not that I had nothing left to say to her — just nothing within the realm of easy, first-date rapport. Have you ever done this? Just blazed through all the simple biographical stuff before your first meeting, only to be left on your first date staring holes into a breadbasket?” (@lemondrop)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Several years ago in my college Soc of Gender class we saw the film “Defending Our Lives.” I think our teacher was out so they’d just given the substitute a film to show and we expected something as ambivalently affecting as it was ambivalently presented. But this movie, which told the stories of four women imprisoned for defending themselves following years of being beaten, raped and tortured by their husbands or boyfriends, opened my eyes to the severity of a situation I didn’t know much about — as in, I wasn’t aware that women who killed their abusive husbands in self-defense were incarcirated so swiftly without proper legal representation. Even with evidence of severe assault at the hands of their abusers, battered women who claim self defense are only acquitted 25 percent of the time and those sentenced serve an average of 15 years (the average for men who kill their wives is 2-6 years). Somewhere between 2,000-4,000 women are currently in jail for defending themselves against abusers.
I thought of that movie when I saw this story on Jezebel today about a new HBO documentary. I’ll warn you that it’s a lot to handle, but if you can, you should really take five minutes to look at it: “In 2005, Wendy Maldonado smashed in her husband’s skull with a hammer, while her 16-year-old son assisted with a hatchet. The documentary Every F—-ing Day of My Life explores what led the Maldonados to commit such gruesome acts.” (Sidenote: for more information about domestic violence in same-sex relationships, visit the LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project website.)