Jul 04 2008

Maybe privacy is dead after all

Published by at 7:52 am under Government,Privacy

At least it will be for YouTube viewers if this judge has his way. I rarely agree with Michael Arrington, but in this case he’s right: with all due respect, Judge Stanton is an idiot.

If nothing else, this judge needs to go back and review some recent history about what can happen when huge databases of user activities are released. Even if user names weren’t part of the equation, we’ve learned that given an IP address and a sampling of activities, it’s possible to track down people by their search habits. I’m sure Sony is firing up Splunk or some other form of database search engine.

I’m not sure if Sony thought of reviewing the data with intent of litigation against posters and viewers of YouTube videos, but they’ve got the bug in their ear now. And there’s going to be the chance of some really embarrassing revelations in the database.

The EFF is already weighing their options in getting into this fight and they really do need to. I could get rabid about the stupidity of this ruling, but there are already more than enough people doing that. I’ll just say that a judge who probably had never heard of YouTube before this landed on his docket is probably not the best person to be setting this sort of precedent, especially since he doesn’t seem to be in the least bit familiar with the laws protecting the privacy of YouTube viewers.

I’m just glad I’ve never created a YouTube account and rarely turn off NoScript long enough to view anything there.

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