Online Privacy Issues On The Rise

Privacy issues all over the place lately if you have been following the news a bit.

First of all there was the fuzz about the YouTube-Viacom ruling in the united states. Angry voices were raised as it appeared Viacom would have the right to ask for all user information from YouTube in order to investigate copyright infringements and royalty fees. I don’t know if the huge wave of protest had something to do with it, but soon became clear Viacom would not be so greedy. They agreed to only gather video information but not the data showing who has been watching what.

I believe it shows the amplitude of what a website like YouTube became over the years. Virtually everybody online knows and has watched videos on Youtube. The idea of somebody sniffing around user data is therefore freaky enough to mobilize half the internet population to protest against such public display of privacy violation.

For Google the next privacy issue is on it’s news after formal protest in Europe against Google Streetview, the new technology that films people live on the streets. The Tour the France is supposed the be the ‘moment suprème’ for the launch of Google’s streetview but Privacy International is now challenging Google to withdraw from their practices of capturing images of people on streets across Europe.

In the US capturing image of random people is allowed but in Europe it is forbidden. Google’s answer to this is their new face blurring technology to hide people’s identity on the video captured by Streetview. The technology seems up to date and running succesfully in New york for example, but defendants don’t want to narrow down the pricacy concerns to strictly technological discussion.

A leeson to learn for today: write yourself a good privacy statement for your site and link it visible in your page footer.

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