YouTube Hangs On To Viewer Privacy

    July 15, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

The video sharing service managed to keep Viacom from sneaking a peek at the viewing histories of its users.

An earlier and astonishing decision that ordered YouTube to hand over mounds of viewing history data during the discovery phase of Viacom’s lawsuit against the site and Google won’t take effect.

“We are pleased to report that Viacom, MTV and other litigants have backed off their original demand for all users’ viewing histories and we will not be providing that information,” said the YouTube blog.

Viacom also wanted to see users’ private videos, and to access the search and video identification technologies in use on YouTube. That won’t be happening either.

The earlier decision in the billion dollar lawsuit created an uproar around the Internet. It was called a “setback to privacy rights” by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A law called the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) limits what can be disclosed about the viewing habits of individuals. Personally identifiable information on viewing habits may only be disclosed in certain circumstances.

One circumstance allows for this disclosure “pursuant to a court order in a civil proceeding, upon showing of a compelling need, provided the consumer is given reasonable notice; and afforded the opportunity to contest the request.”