Google, Viacom agree on anonymizing YouTube data

Posted on Tuesday, Jul 15 2008 @ 19:47 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Google is still forced to hand over YouTube user data to Viacom but there's some good news today as the firms have reached a deal to conceal the identity of YouTube's users.
Earlier in July, a federal judge in Manhattan ordered Google to turn over YouTube user data to Viacom and other plaintiffs to help them to prepare a confidential study of what they argue are vast piracy violations on the video-sharing site.

Google said it had now agreed to provide lawyers for Viacom and a class-action group led by the Football Association of England, a large viewership database that blanks out YouTube username and Internet address data that could be used to identify individual video watchers.

“We have reached agreement with Viacom and the class-action group,” a Google spokesman, Ricardo Reyes, said. “They have agreed to let us anonymize YouTube user data.”

Viacom, owner of movie studio Paramount and MTV Networks, requested the information as part of its $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against the online video service YouTube and its parent, Google.

Judge Louis Stanton of Federa l District Court in Manhattan ordered Google on July 1 to turn over as evidence a database with usernames of YouTube viewers, what videos they watched when, and users’ computer addresses.

Privacy advocates from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups argued in response that the order “threatens to expose deeply private information” and violated the 1988 Video Privacy Protection Act.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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