It's a brave new world, I tell you...
If you wanted to keep your obsession with hyperactive YouTube phenomeon "Fred" a secret, you're in for some bad news. A federal judge yesterday ordered that records of every video watched on YouTube be handed over to Viacom as part of its ongoing $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google.
According to the ruling:
The motion to compel production of all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website is granted.
In case you were wondering::
Defendants' "Logging" database contains, for each instance a video is watched, the unique "login ID" of the user who watched it, the time when the user started to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices connected to the internet use to identify the user's computer ("IP address"), and the identifier for the video.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is up in arms over the ruling and has a breakdown of how this decision may actually violate federal law.
Gee, ya think? Considering that my husband, myself (for both personal and business reasons) and all our kids use this computer from time to time, including looking up things on YouTube, I have to laugh at the profile that they'd try to construct on us as a user. But as whythawk at Scholars&Rogues points out...it could have far more serious outcomes:
Yahoo turned over user information to the Chinese government that was used to track down a dissident journalist, Shi Tao, and send him to a labour camp. It was the moment that the Internet knew sin.
Now, Judge Louis Stanton has decided to force Google/YouTube to disclose a complete set of data on all YouTube users. As TechCrunch reports: "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.""
TechCrunch goes on to express concern that this throws open the opportunity for copyright holders to sue individuals for watching their materials on YouTube. That [should be the] least of anyone's concerns.
Over the past few years democrats and other "subversives" in places like Iran, Morocco, Egypt, Zimbabwe, China and other hell-holes of civil liberties have used their camera-phones to send broadcasts directly from the front-line of vicious conflicts.
Imagine if that information is used to not only trace, but eliminate, those "subversive" elements. This goes beyond the slippery slope straight into the abyss of immorality and oppression.