Once again, consumers are outraged by issues regarding invasion of privacy. Google stepped on some Gmail user's toes recently, and apparently they are not the only ones. A lawsuit, filed against Netflix, claimed that the company had not done enough to make sure their customer's information remained anonymous in a recent contest.
The contest was established to formulate a better system of suggesting movies based on the films the user has already viewed. Seems like a good idea right?
Well, anyone who was interested had access to this competition, as long as they followed a set of guide lines. In order to allow the contestants to test their software, they had to gain access to actual user information. A lesbian mother who had not shared her "life-choice" with anyone, was outraged when informed that her previous movie history may out her before she was ready, and she was not the only one with complaints. The contest, offering $1 million to create the system Netflix was had imagined, was not dropped immediately after the issue was brought forth, but the FTC did step in.
After months of deliberating, the Next Big Thing™ contest was recently canceled and the lawsuit has also been settled because of their actions. The company is still intending to find a way to improve their recommendation engine, but will have to find another way. Large companies just don't understand why consumers don't want "Big Brother" watching over their shoulder around the clock. Unfortunately, privacy is on the bottom of the priority list these days.