Why Google's Copy Protection Raises Privacy Issues

from the tradeoffs dept

We’ve already noted our concerns about Google’s decision to create their own copy protection scheme. Beyond the incompatibility issue (which is a big one), it also raises questions about security and privacy, as copy protection schemes, by their very nature have tradeoffs when it comes to privacy and security. Ed Felten is digging into Google’s copy protection and believes that the company made some bad choices concerning your privacy. Basically, of the options they had for setting up the copy protection, the one they chose is the one that stores the most amount of information — basically, who you are, what you’re watching and when you’re watching it. Because the system calls home to Google every time you want to watch a video you purchased, they basically have a complete record of your viewing habits. While it’s nice that, so far, Google is willing to go out of its way to protect the data they have on you from your friendly government officials, that doesn’t mean they’ll always be able to. It should, however, reinforce the questions people should be asking about just how much they trust Google.

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Comments on “Why Google's Copy Protection Raises Privacy Issues”

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ZOMG CENSORED (user link) says:

What's the real problem?

While google’s call home operation shouldn’t be a real issue (you’re watching legal material, aren’t you?) what really disturbs me is the fact that, as was stated, the Gov’t is on their backs about releasing data. If this should happen, that basically entitles the US Gov’t access to all this info.

What concerns me the most of that is you could be from another country and your information is easily obtainable by another country’s Gov’t while you’re deprived of your right to privacy as provided by your Gov’t. (At least from what I understood).

Marc Michaels says:

Re: What's the real problem?

Man…no matter what the article, we just have to blame our government for everything. This article highlights poor privacy management by GOOGLE, but here we come with the slams on the government.
You’re ok with Google collecting private info about what is watched by who and when, because “you’re watching legal material, aren’t you”. But you can’t wait to slam the government, when essentially the same argument can be made….”you’re watching legal material, aren’t you”.
I don’t mean this to be a “flame” or anything. I respect opinions on all sides. I think you’re right about not wanting the govt to access the info. I just can’t believe how many anti-government posts have been hitting the site lately. Seems like anything negative in an article can be stretched to build up an attack on the President.

Mark says:

Re: Re: What's the real problem?

Read the news Marc. Is it not the government that is currently taking google in front of a federal judge to force them to give up information they have? And do you really believe that if sucessful with this, they will stop with demanding only generic information? Come on… If the kettle is black, calling it something else is just dumb.
And no where in this article do I see a mention of the President. But once again, it seems to me anyway that he is indeed the ringmaster of that circus. So like they say, don’t piss down my leg…well, you know the rest.

gmoney says:

Re: Re: What's the real problem?

Bush is at it again. Lets just spy on every American any way we can. Telephone, email, www,
whats next? Why dont they put a video camera in evry home, parking lot, store, anywhere and everywhere that way we can track everybody all the time. Oh yeah and why dont we implant a computer chip into your body so we can know your location at all times and where you have been.

F__ the communist republican nazi government

dietrich says:

Re: What's the real problem?

While google’s call home operation shouldn’t be a real issue (you’re watching legal material, aren’t you?)…

January 15, 1920 – You’re a pub owner selling beer, minding your own business, nobody bothers you.
January 16, 1920 – You have a history of criminal activity which the feds use to raid your building, destroy your property and put you in jail while they “investigate” whether you’ve violated the 18th Amendment.

Moral: laws change. Be wary of anyone who keeps records on you — whether what you do is “legal” (right now) or not.

dorpus says:

Privacy of Entrepreneurs?

Horiemon, the Japanese businessman who started the Google-like “livedoor” business, caused widespread economic panic when his assistant commited suicide yesterday. Horiemon has now barricaded himself inside his office, refusing to go home, because people are “plotting to kill him”.


inside sources says:

No Subject Given

I must say that yes google may be stepping a little to far but think about it a second, yes make a big deal about google collecting info on you, but thats what Microsoft does maybe not as much but microsft products suck compared to google products. The point is that google is not big and bad like microsoft and actually stands up for the public, and if not for google, this privacy thing (big brother) could be getting a hole lot worse. And google is not stupid by any means they use this information to make your searches better and products better and etc.

Brian Bartlett says:

Don't forget the Patriot Act

As I recall, under the Patriot Act Google would have no choice but to turn over the data collected on your viewing habits and all it would require is a letter written by the local FBI supervisor; no courts involved at all. That’s not a problem here as I have no expectation of privacy (for unrelated reasons) but I think many people would have a problem. Unless the Patriot Act is revised, and there is little hope of getting a revised version (along the lines of what the Senate wants) through the House, this will stand. Google may want to rethink this.

Alexander (profile) says:

Re: Don't forget the Patriot Act

At this point in time, as far as I can see, the PATRIOT Act has expired for all means and purposes.

So, an FBI supervisor writing a letter wouldn’t necessarily have the same type of impact as it did from 9/11 to the end of 2005.

And did the PATRIOT Act really cover that kind of strong-arming? Dang, I’ve been out of the loop.

Bill Cosby Loves Jello says:

If Google really cared

If Google really cared. I mean really really cared about the privacy of their users, they wouldnt collect the information about their users in the first place.
But you gotta remember that Google’s bottom line is making more money, and they will accomplish that no matter the cost. By collecting your viewing habits they are able to utilize better targeted ad campaigns.
They know eventually their information collected on users is going to be compromized. Wether it be in 2 months or 15 years. So if they really cared about peoples privacy, they wouldnt collect the information in the first place. But the financial gains outweigh the risk to its users.

Daniel (profile) says:

Re: If Google really cared

How many people have a store card? I mean c’mon, people whinge about google’s policy, what about the personalised offers you get from tesco on products you purchase regularly (or are similar to)?

Every time you swipe your tesco store card they know where you live, what you bought, when was the last time you bought it, but who cares enough to complain? Nobody. If you don’t like this you dont hand over your card at the till. People who are really that concerned about this kind of thing need to start taking responsability for their own online actions.

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