Thursday, July 03, 2008

Your YouTube viewing habits are being handed over to Viacom

Viacom demanded from Google a log containing the IP address and viewing history of everyone who has ever watched a clip on YouTube. The judge in the copyright infringement lawsuit agreed.

Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the ruling a "set-back to privacy rights".

The viewing log, which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details.

While the legal battle between the two firms is being contested in the US, it is thought the ruling will apply to YouTube users and their viewing habits everywhere.


Google's senior litigation counsel Catherine Lacavera said in a statement: "We are disappointed the court granted Viacom's over-reaching demand for viewing history.

"We will ask Viacom to respect users' privacy and allow us to anonymise the logs before producing them under the court's order."

The ruling will see the viewing habits of millions of YouTube users given to Viacom, totalling more than 12 terabytes of data.

Viacom said it wanted the data to "compare the attractiveness of allegedly infringing video with that of non-infringing videos."
This means that Viacom will know what you - yes, you - have been watching on YouTube.

From warrantless wiretapping to laptop searches at the airport to the wholesale exposure of individuals' internet habits, we are witnessing nothing less momentous than the end of privacy.

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