Andrew Pollack's Blog

Technology, Family, Entertainment, Politics, and Random Noise

All your YouTube viewing history will now be available to Viacom

By Andrew Pollack on 07/03/2008 at 11:29 AM EDT

As if my post earlier today wasn't enough, here's some further emphasis.

According to Wired, a judge has ordered Google to turn over its entire history of user viewing data to the media giant. The ruling is based in part on the idea that IP addresses which are tracked don't constitute sufficiently identifying information to be considered a privacy problem.

IMHO this is a massive hypocrisy. If the data isn't revealing enough to be a privacy concern, then it has no value as a proof of violation and thus should not be handed over.

Now, all Viacom has to do is is track those IP addresses down to homeowners. It doesn't matter any more who used the IP address in the home. Another ruling recently against eBay (see ) established the precedent that eBay was acting as a landlord to people who used its space to sell things, and was thus liable for their actions.

How can Viacom tie back those IP addresses to you?

1. Any tracking cookie that identifies you, and can be matched to your use of the same IP address.

2. Reverse DNS lookups will show the cable router, dsl interface, etc. for your home. Viacom may have to contact your media provider to get the actual address. I wonder if they know the right people to call. Oh, wait....

3. Any time you've accessed content on a Viacom owned site, your IP address is logged. Tie them together.

Am I making my point here?

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: All your YouTube viewing history will now be available to ViacomBy mdmadph on 07/03/2008 at 02:29 PM EDT
Aye, but I'm torn -- for years, the EFF has been trying to get courts to admit
and learn that IP addresses aren't physically identical to a person's identity,
but I never thought it would turn out like this...

Kind of a weird twist -- perhaps Google will win out in this, or perhaps this
ruling could be used against "them" in the future (such as with the Thomas RIAA
case). If an IP address isn't revealing enough to link definitively to a
person, can the RIAA really sue people based upon their IP addresses?
re: All your YouTube viewing history will now be available to ViacomBy Dwight Wilbanks on 07/03/2008 at 02:58 PM EDT
Its not over until its over.

IANAL, but, it seems to me that there are multiple grounds that Google could
fight this, and they have significant value in doing so. Its good PR.

Google has shown that there usage logs are valuable, they are able to pull
information together on a user from a crazy lot of sources to be able to. Just
giving this information over to Viacom would dilute their value. Also give
Viacom a marketing advantage to merge Google data with their own to target

Also, there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Your can put a hidden camera in your storefront near the cash register, but,
you can not put a hidden camera in the bathroom. If a celebrity strips down
naked in front of the cash register, you hit pay day, its your to sell. If you
get caught putting a camera in the bathroom, you go to jail.

The distinction is, and has always been the reasonable expectation of privacy.
re: All your YouTube viewing history will now be available to ViacomBy Nathan T. Freeman on 07/04/2008 at 04:47 PM EDT
I just don't understand why Google maintained the IP address in their logs.
That's just stupid. A salted hash of the IP address would have been just as
valuable, and not useful to tie back IP addresses en masse.
re: All your YouTube viewing history will now be available to ViacomBy mdmadph on 07/08/2008 at 02:18 PM EDT
Google probably does it because the government tells 'em too. (Let's not kid
ourselves -- you know it's true.) However, I don't mind the government doing
it sneakily -- nothing new there. I _do_ mind the corporate world having the
same powers, however.

Other Recent Stories...

  1. 01/26/2023Better Running VirtualBox or VMWARE Virtual Machines on Windows 10+ Forgive me, Reader, for I have sinned. I has been nearly 3 years since my last blog entry. The truth is, I haven't had much to say that was worthy of more than a basic social media post -- until today. For my current work, I was assigned a new laptop. It's a real powerhouse machine with 14 processor cores and 64 gigs of ram. It should be perfect for running my development environment in a virtual machine, but it wasn't. VirtualBox was barely starting, and no matter how many features I turned off, it could ...... 
  2. 04/04/2020How many Ventilators for the price of those tanks the Pentagon didn't even want?This goes WAY beyond Trump or Obama. This is decades of poor planning and poor use of funds. Certainly it should have been addressed in the Trump, Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Reagan administrations -- all of which were well aware of the implications of a pandemic. I want a military prepared to help us, not just hurt other people. As an American I expect that with the ridiculous funding of our military might, we are prepared for damn near everything. Not just killing people and breaking things, but ...... 
  3. 01/28/2020Copyright Troll WarningThere's a copyright troll firm that has automated reverse-image searches and goes around looking for any posted images that they can make a quick copyright claim on. This is not quite a scam because it's technically legal, but it's run very much like a scam. This company works with a few "clients" that have vast repositories of copyrighted images. The trolls do a reverse web search on those images looking for hits. When they find one on a site that looks like someone they can scare, they work it like ...... 
  4. 03/26/2019Undestanding how OAUTH scopes will bring the concept of APPS to your Domino server 
  5. 02/05/2019Toro Yard Equipment - Not really a premium brand as far as I am concerned 
  6. 10/08/2018Will you be at the NYC Launch Event for HCL Domino v10 -- Find me! 
  7. 09/04/2018With two big projects on hold, I suddenly find myself very available for new short and long term projects.  
  8. 07/13/2018Who is HCL and why is it a good thing that they are now the ones behind Notes and Domino? 
  9. 03/21/2018Domino Apps on IOS is a Game Changer. Quit holding back. 
  10. 02/15/2018Andrew’s Proposed Gun Laws 
Click here for more articles.....

pen icon Comment Entry
Your Name
*Your Email
* Your email address is required, but not displayed.
Your thoughts....
Remember Me  

Please wait while your document is saved.