Friday, July 04, 2008

Privacy and Viacom vs. YouTube

The Mercury News has a great article on the Viacom vs. YouTube/Google Ruling:

A federal judge in New York has ordered Google to turn over to Viacom a database linking users of YouTube, the Web's largest video site by far, with every clip they have watched there.

More information on this topic is also available here on the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) Deeplinks Blog. According to that post EFF plans, "to continue discussions with the parties on ways to protect the privacy of the YouTube users and ensure that their rights under the Video Privacy Protection Act are given effect."

Besides troubling legal questions this brings up troubling privacy concerns. If all this information is being cached about us can and will be able to be demanded successfully by parties able to compel a judge to sign a discovery order; is it ethical for companies to keep such data? Does this question of business ethics get sticky now it has been shown that litigants can get to it? Will this have a chilling effect on how people use the Internet? I mean, why wouldn't it?

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