Youtube data disclosures: The limits of data governance.

Wired.com reports that a US judge compelled YouTube Google to turn over its complete user logs – including time stamps and IP addresses, which might be used to discover the real life identity behind a request. Denied motions in the same decision i…

Wired.com reports that a US judge compelled YouTube Google to turn over its complete user logs – including time stamps and IP addresses, which might be used to discover the real life identity behind a request.Denied motions in the same decision include the disclosure of Google’s and Youtube’s search engine source code, private videos, and various database schemata.Leaving aside that Viacom’s demand for assorted crown jewels smells of an attempt to force YouTube into a settlement, the judge’s decision really is a staggering example of the limits of data governance: Building data avoidance into protocols and services makes privacy-threatening disclosures hard or impossible; it also limits the usefulness of some services. But approaches that accept (almost unlimited) storage and processing of data (and then rely on technology and procedures to enforce certain rules) are ultimately limited by the ability of the surrounding legal and social system to stick to these rules. That really means two things: On the one hand, the social context needs to hold data processors accountable for the privacy promises that they make. On the other hand, it must not turn into a threat to these promises itself.This case is a particularly spectacular example of the latter aspect, made worse by an environment in which little is ever forgotten.Food for thought when you next dump personal data into some Web 2.0 information silo.