Imagine, if you will, a theft steals a candy bar from a convenience store. The clerk suspects that the thief lives in a large apartment complex nearby.  So the clerk approaches the apartment complex management and demands the keys to all the homes in the complex so that he can search them for the thief and the candy bar.

Sound ridiculous?  Well, not according to the court order of Louis L. Stanton (USDJ)… except the candy bar is Viacom content and the apartment complex is the search records of every user of YouTube/GoogleVideo.

This is a gross invasion of privacy even in the case of a police or government agency, but for a PRIVATE company, its a monstrous assault on our privacy.

Judge Orders YouTube to Give All User Histories to Viacom

Update: I’m told that “serious usage restrictions” were applied to the data by the courts.  1) I’m soooooo confident that a major corporation like Viacom will behave in an upstanding manner when given a goldmine of personal user data.  2) Who’s saying the personal data will be respected?  Why, CNET… who was recently purchased by CBS who, in turn is owned by the same folks (National Amusements) that own… wait for it… Viacom.  Oh yeah, we can all breath a sigh of relief </sarcasm>