Google is facing yet another demand from US federal law enforcement and courts to uncover the identities of individuals who have watched specific YouTube videos. This directive highlights the ongoing efforts to closely monitor online activities, especially on Google's vast platforms.

This recent development raises concerns about the potential misuse and exploitation of Google's power, especially considering its previous actions such as blocking artists and channels and providing user geolocation data to authorities in response to controversial geofencing warrants.

Revealing the identities of all viewers of a particular video is reminiscent of geofencing, as it treats everyone as a potential suspect. Many academics and civil rights organizations argue that this practice is illegal and violates the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on arbitrary searches.

Forbes reports that Google has received multiple orders to identify specific YouTube content. One case, originating in Kentucky, involves viewers of content uploaded by an individual suspected of money laundering through bitcoin transactions.

Undercover agents reached out to the user, providing links for drone mapping and augmented reality training. Subsequently, the user turned to Google to inquire about the viewership of their videos.

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A judge ruled that all users who watched the videos between January 1, 2003, and January 8, 2003, must have their identities revealed, as the videos had garnered over 30,000 views.

The order demanded the IP addresses of non-account holders who watched the videos, as well as the names, addresses, phone numbers, and account activity of all Google users.

John Davisson from the Electronic Privacy Information Center emphasizes that it is reasonable to expect that law enforcement should not have access to such sensitive personal information without probable cause. However, this order challenges that assumption entirely.

The police asserted that these records could potentially be relevant and significant to an ongoing criminal investigation in their request for the order.

According to Forbes, despite Google complying with the directive to remain silent about the matter, the documents fail to indicate whether or not Google provided data in the case.

In a separate incident in New Hampshire, there was a bomb threat in a public location, and witnesses observed the police conducting a live inspection of the area. The webcast of the event was made possible by a camera situated on a nearby company property.

Consequently, the authorities endeavored to identify the specific individuals who viewed the webcast, which included conducting a search on Boston and Maine Live's YouTube channel with 130,000 subscribers.

There is currently no information available regarding whether Google fulfilled the request. However, it is highly likely that they did.

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