Following a court ruling today, all of YouTubes logs are to be handed over to Viacom. From these logs it is possible to identify who watched what video and when. Once these logs have been extracted the US Government will almost certainly obtain them via the US PATRIOT Act, if they have not already.
The logging database contains:
each instance a video is watched, the unique “login ID” of the user who watched it, the time when the user started to watch the video, the internet protocol address other devices connected to the internet use to identify the user’s computer (“IP address”), and the identifier for the video.
While Google, the owners of YouTube, may cry foul that all of this data is being handed over to Viacom, another media company, it is unlikely that there defence is purley in the interest of the privacy of the public, not least because they gave data from the Google search engines to both the US and Chinese authorities.
This data almost certainly has a degree of economic value, especially for advertiser, if not why would Google keep and create it?
If YouTube were really so concerned with the privacy of customers why should have simply annoymised or deleted the logs completely, that would have resolved the issue completely.