YOUTUBE HANDS PROFILES TO VIACOM
By BRIAN GARRITY
SUMNER REDSTONEHe's watching you.
July 4, 2008
If you've ever watched a video on YouTube, Viacom now has access to your personal user data and viewing habits.
Google has been ordered by a New York federal judge to turn over a database of YouTube user logs that includes personal user log-on IDs and related information about which clips users watched, when they watched them and the IP address of the computers used to view them.
The ruling came late Wednesday as part of an ongoing $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit that Sumner Redstone-led Viacom filed against Google and YouTube, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the online search giant.
While Viacom is looking to prove widespread unauthorized viewing of its shows like "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" on YouTube, privacy watchdogs are howling that the move is a massive invasion of privacy.
Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the ruling "a setback" to privacy rights that will allow Viacom to see what users are watching on YouTube.
"We urge Viacom to back off this over-broad request and Google to take all steps necessary to challenge this order and protect the rights of its users," he said in blog posting.
However, a source close to Viacom maintained that under court rules, all of that data will go to the media titan's outside counsel and outside experts, not to the company itself.
"The information we've requested will only be used to support Viacom's claims that Google and YouTube are infringing its intellectual property," this person said. "Viacom is completely committed to working with Google to ensure that users' personally sensitive information is completely protected."
Added a Google spokeswoman, "We are disappointed the court granted Viacom's overreaching demand for viewing history.
Publicat al NEWYORK POST