We all know the USA badly needs some sane data protection legislation, and this is a good illustration of why:
Yesterday, in the Viacom v. Google litigation, the federal court for the Southern District of New York ordered Google to produce to Viacom (over Google’s objections):
all data from the Logging database concerning each time a YouTube video has been viewed on the YouTube website or through embedding on a third-party website
The court’s order grants Viacom’s request and erroneously ignores the protections of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), and threatens to expose deeply private information about what videos are watched by YouTube users. The VPPA passed after a newspaper disclosed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental records. As Congress recognized, your selection of videos to watch is deeply personal and deserves the strongest protection.
(Fortunately this ruling appears to be illegal, but you can easily imagine that less-rich companies couldn’t afford to appeal.) Time to log out of YouTube and start using Tor.