Viacom in frenetic spin-control mode as public outcry over privacy rights reaches fevered pitch

Unless you've been shielding yourself from any source of Internet news, it was hard to miss the coverage of the Viacom v. YouTube discovery order that resulted in the disclosure of YouTube's database of video views, complete with the IP address of the accessing machine, the login ID of the use, and the time the video was viewed.  The Complex Litigator won't repeat the discovery order details, which were covered a few days ago.

The latest development is a result of the public outcry over this Order. Viacom is now in full PR mode.  “Viacom has not requested any personally identifiable information from YouTube as part of the litigation,” the company asserted on a YouTube Ligitation website. “The personally identifiable information that YouTube collects from its users will be stripped from the data before it is transferred to Viacom. Viacom will use the data exclusively for the purpose of proving our case against You Tube and Google.”

However, as also noted on Digital Daily, Viacom's assertion is inconsistent with the Order it sought and obtained:

Defendants’ “Logging” database, that contains, for 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.

(The Complex Litigator.)  Many IP addresses change over time, but in most broadband connections, they change slowly.  Coupled with login ID's, Viacom could make highly reliable associations between viewer location and viewer identity.

All the public can do now is hope that unified pressure will push Viacom to agree to accept a "scrubbed" set of data that does not allow detection of viewer identity.