Viacom-YouTube Reach Privacy Deal over User Info

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Google’s YouTube won’t be required, after all, to hand over user IDs to Viacom.

The measure is part of an agreement reached yesterday in U.S. District Court in New York City in connection with a Viacom copyright infringement lawsuit against YouTube. In that lawsuit, Viacom claims Google failed to stop the distribution of Viacom content on YouTube.

Earlier this month, a federal judge ordered Google to hand over to Viacom the following information: YouTube user IDs, visitor IDs, and the IP address, which is used to connect computers over the Internet. Under the new agreement, Google will be able to substitute the IDs and IP addresses for “unique values.” As a result, the privacy of users should be better protected, while Viacom should still be able to establish what videos were watched.

“We are pleased to report that Viacom, MTV and other litigants have backed off their original demand for all users’ viewing histories,” the “YouTube Team” wrote on YouTube’s blog.

Most visitors posting entries on the YouTube blog applauded the development. “thanks, Youtube. It’s good to know that at least one organization is committed to our privacy,” wrote arcadianraider.

Others asked when Google would reduce the amount of information it obtains from users. “Great! So when are you going to let us OPT OUT of information collection?” asked thestranger.

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