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Google Ordered to Hand Over User Data to Viacom

YouTube Ordered to Shell Out Viewer Info

If you've ever checked out YouTube clips from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (among many others), your information may soon be released to Viacom — they've been granted access to private user data to find out how many people are watching!

Part of a copyright infringement lawsuit, Google was ordered to release the deets about how many times copyrighted clips are played, and who's watching to determine if damages are owed to Viacom.

Viacom claims that Google knew about the infringements and could do more to stop it. Although the Goog was opposed to handing over the 12 terabytes of data (that's a lot), saying that info should be kept private, Viacom assures us that they will proceed with caution. Here's more:

Any data provided will be used exclusively for the purpose of proving our case against YouTube and Google (and) will be handled subject to a court protective order and in a highly confidential manner.

Thoughts of anonymity and identity theft come to my paranoid mind when companies are forced to hand over user information, but does this case make you think twice before using YouTube if your info and viewing history (no matter how delicately handled) are available for others to see? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.


Join The Conversation
stgeorge21 stgeorge21 9 years
This is a complete invasion of privacy on the part of Viacom and our user information doesn’t have any relevance to their billion dollar lawsuit against Google. Google should be able to anatomize the user information before handing over 12 terabytes of personal information so my privacy and the privacy of millions like me are protected. I have a campaign that will force Viacom to allow Google/YouTube to protect us or 100,000 will boycott Viacom and all its subsidiaries: privacy
Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I completely agree angiers. Everyone on this board is right. We all have too much sensitive personal information that does NOT need to be given out. Who cares who watches what if it's not illegal or harmful. I also think that You Tube does a great job at taking down copyright material in a good amount of time. Viacom may want our personal information for something else too and of course they are not going to tell us all the reasons why. Viacom should forget the past and go from this day forward. And I hope the appeals is won in court so that no ones info is forked over to these people that we don't know and don't trust.
angiers angiers 9 years
I heard about this last week. I really think the judge over stepped some boundaries. 1. Viacom does not need user IPs or their viewing habits to prove their content is more popular then user generated content. The view counts are on the videos, if they don't keep record of how many views a video received before they ask YouTube to pull it, it's their own fault. 2. You can get very sensitive data using IP addresses. You can get people's names, occupations, where they work, what they buy online, what they search for online, credit card information, etc. Pretty much a profile of what they do on and offline. Not only valuable market information that Viacom doesn't have to pay for but also some of that information is inappropriate for them to have. I hope to go when this goes to the appeal courts, that there will be a judge with more sense in his/her head then the obvious luddite this judge is.
QueenOfAllCosmos QueenOfAllCosmos 9 years
I agree with gigill, whatever I watch on my own time (at work when my boss isn't looking.........) is of nobody's business but my own. I see videos being taken out of Youtube because of copyright all the time and I think that they do a really good job at it but you can't stop people from posting them right back up...
gigill gigill 9 years
I don't like having my info passed around - what I do on the web is my business, and unless I give permission for that info to be shared I'm not a fan of this!
LadyAngel89 LadyAngel89 9 years
I worry about the rest of google's user histories. I remember reading something about that before. I don't mind if people know, I just worry about how they decide to use that information against me for something silly.
emmag emmag 9 years
I'm not really upset about my YouTube viewing habits being out there, I worry about the precedent this sets. Is all user history now fair game?
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