Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Data on Everything You’ve Watched on YouTube to Be Turned Over to Viacom?

July 3rd, 2008 · No Comments

This isn’t a Brooklyn story, but it’s a privacy issue of concern to anyone that’s ever watched, uploaded or posted a YouTube vid. (Which is pretty much everyone reading GL.) Given that we upload vids and that we post them often, it’s of great interest and it’s pretty horrifying: a Federal judge has ordered Google to turn over all YouTube user records to Viacom, which is suing it for copyright infringement. The judge did, however, allow Google to protect its trade secrets (whew). As for users, no luck. Per Tech Crunch on the Washington Post: “That data includes every YouTube username, the associated IP address and the videos that user has watched on YouTube. Google will also be required to hand over copies of every video removed from Youtube for any reason (DMCA notices or user-initiated deletions). Stanton dismissed Google’s argument that the order will violate user privacy, saying such privacy concerns are merely ‘speculative.'” In theory, Viacom could use the data to sue individual users over what they’ve watched or those that have uploaded protected content. The good news is that the ruling is so insane that it is likely to be found unconstitutional. Tech Crunch writes that “the privacy fallout of this ruling is spectacular. The EFF has already chimed in, noting that the order is highly likely to be in violation of federal law…I say this with the utmost respect, but Judge Stanton is a moron. And Google simply cannot hand this data over without facing a class action lawsuit of staggering proportions.” The are more stories on the issue here, in this Google news search. We’d embed a video as a visual with the item, but we’re really not in the mood right now.

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