Google Ordered to Handover Users' Info

In a decision rankling privacy rights groups, U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton ordered Google to disclose records showing which users watched particular videos on YouTube as part of Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit. The order includes handing over the IP addresses of viewers who watched pirated clips on the popular video sharing site.

This is bad news. Your IP address could be used to identify you as someone who engaged in “illegal activity,” such as the trade of copyrighted material. Regardless of where you stand on copyright protection laws, the infringement on privacy by corporations is reaching a freaky level.

Privacy advocates agree and point out that they’ve been saying Google retains too much information on users, a charge Google disputes by claiming they need the data to “improve the quality of its code and also to guard against click fraud.” Quality of code aside, this is really about ad revenue for Google and nothing at all to do with the privacy of their users.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is considering joining the fight against this order. Kurt Opsahl, a lawyer with the group, told Online Media Daily Thursday that the organization is weighing whether to get involved. “A motion to intervene is certainly possible,” he said. “We’re considering all options, but have not yet decided on the best course of action.” *Full disclosure: Glorious Noise LLC contributes money to the EFF.

So, despite the fact that YouTube contributes heavily to the promotion of long dead acts (and their catalogs) by providing a venue for users to view, post, and share video of those acts, some greedheads are trying to criminalize the service and, apparently, the fans who use it.

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