Recently Viacom got themselves a court order requiring Google to hand over a complete list of (get this) Every video watched by YouTube users.  The logs in question include the login names an IP addresses of those users.

Google, in it’s pro-privacy mode, is now asking Viacom if they could anonymize the logs before handing them over.  That means they want to go through the logs and take a virtual airbrush and delete personally identifyable information from them.

Some would say that this is part of the price you pay for doing anything online, personally identifyable information is going to be collected at all sorts of places and you never know when it’s going to come back on you.

Others would say (and rightly so), that Google (or any other website) doesn’t NEED personally identifyable information and should have a regular practice of anonymizing logs as soon as possible, including taking the extra step of not collecting personally identifying information unless it is essential such as for a purchase, unless absolutely necessary.

The next step is that users should assume that this kind of information is being collected anyway and take steps of their own to insure their privacy.  One way would be to use TorBrowser to surf anonymously.

Technorati Tags: viacom, google, privacy policy, video, personally identifyable information, youtube

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