A Victory for Privacy, a Reminder for CIOs


YouTube says, "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."

Viacom seems to have reacted to the uproar over its demand. "After an online uprising against the order, Viacom tried to assert that they never requested personally identifiable information (they did), and later promised not to use the information to sue individuals. The value of that promise was questioned by us and many others."

While it's good to know that conglomerates must sometimes heed the voice of the people, the original demand -- and the court order enforcing it -- have to be disturbing to privacy advocates, and to any company that collects customer data.

I'm reminded of a column Dan Gillmor wrote for us way back in 2005, wondering if customer data is too risky to keep. Dan was thinking in terms of security and malicious intent, but the judge in the YouTube case adds another dimension to the question.


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