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Google Told to Hand Over YouTube Logs

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
4 July 2008

Logs The good people at Google have been told they must hand over a quite startling amount of information to the US legal system about videos being watched on YouTube. The demand forms part of a legal battle bewteen YouTube and media giant Viacom over allegations of copyright infringement on the video sharing site.

The logs contain login IDs of users, their computer IP address and details of the clips they watch. It isn’t clear what Viacom will do with this data at this stage, though users worried that they may be punished for their viewing habits will be reassured to know that some of the clips in question have been viewed over 1,000,000 times. The data itself is reportedly over 12 terabytes in size.

Viacom have stated that their intentions with the data are purely to "compare the attractiveness of allegedly infringing video with that of non-infringing videos."

This isn’t the first time that the search giant has clashed with their own government – back in 2006 the supreme court ordered Google to hand over almost 50,000 web addresses and a large amount of search data – reportedly to help in the first against child pornography. Google initially refused, stating that it would compromise it’s business, along with it’s users privacy. Other search engines were a lot quicker to obey though, which surely gained Google some points with users.

After the last big case, Google pledged to anonymise IP addresses for any search information, but they have never stated whether or not this applies to YouTube or their other interests.

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