Feds ordered Google to unmask certain YouTube users. Critics say it’s ‘terrifying.’

Federal investigators have ordered Google to provide information on all viewers of select YouTube videos, according to multiple court orders obtained by Forbes. Privacy experts from multiple civil rights groups told Forbes they think the orders are unconstitutional because they threaten to turn innocent YouTube viewers into criminal suspects.

↫ Thomas Brewster at Forbes

United States law enforcement has been asking Google who watches certain YouTube videos, covering as many as 30,000 people per video. They wanted names, addresses, telephone numbers and user activity for all Google accounts who had watched a video within a certain week’s timeframe, and the IP addresses of everyone who watched the video without a Google account. That’s an absolute crapton of data, all because they suspected one person of a money-laundering scheme. And this is just one example.

Forbes could not determine if Google complied with the requests, but it does highlight the dangers of having so much data on one place.


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