Rory Cellan-Jones has an uneasy feeling.
The YouTube case seems to show that, despite those promises, we have no real control over our data once it is lodged on a corporate server. Every detail of my viewing activities over the years – the times I’ve watched videos in the office, the clips of colleagues making idiots of themselves, the unauthorised clip of goals from a Premier League game – is contained in those YouTube logs.
All to be handed over to Viacom’s lawyers on a few “over-the-shelf four-terabyte hard drives”, according to the New York judge who made the ruling. I may protest that I am a British citizen and that the judge has no business giving some foreign company a window on my world. No use – my data is in California, and it belongs to Google, not me.
The other troubling aspect about this case was that it was only the blogs that seemed to understand the significance of the ruling when it emerged on Wednesday night. Much of the mainstream media ignored it at first, seeming to regard it as a victory for Google, because the judge said the search firm didn’t have to reveal its source code.
“I’ve never worried too much about the threat to my privacy”, Rory continues.
I’m relaxed about appearing on CCTV, happy enough for my data to be used for marketing purposes, as long as I’ve ticked a box, and have never really cared that Google knows about every search I’ve done for the last 18 months. But suddenly I’m feeling a little less confident. How about you?