Judge Orders Google to Open YouTube Records to Viacom

In the latest turn in Viacom’s copyright infringement suit against YouTube and parent company Google, a federal judge ruled that Google must hand over YouTube users’ IP addresses and user names, plus a history of videos they’ve viewed. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation stills sees the ruling as a blow to user privacy.

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

Still, the judge’s order, which was made public late Wednesday, renewed concerns among privacy advocates that Internet companies like Google are collecting unprecedented amounts of private information that could be misused or fall unexpectedly into the hands of third parties.

Civil rights groups were quick to give their opinion on the case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a release that the Judge’s decision will violate user privacy and violate the federal Video Privacy Protection Act.

“The Court’s erroneous ruling is a set-back to privacy rights, and will allow Viacom to see what you are watching on YouTube,” said the EFF.

“We urge Viacom to back off this overbroad request and Google to take all steps necessary to challenge this order and protect the rights of its users.”

Source: The New York Times

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