Google must hand over details of every person who has ever watched a video on YouTube, a US court ruled.
The internet giant is being hit by a £500million lawsuit from entertainment company Viacom over copyright infringement.
The owner of channels such as Nickelodeon and MTV, Viacom claims that 160,000 unauthorised clips of its television shows have been uploaded on to YouTube and viewed more than 1.5billion times.
In seeking the user details, Viacom has been trying to prove that the site is almost solely reliant on viewing illegally downloaded clips.
But internet experts have warned the ruling potentially threatens the privacy of millions of internet users. Marcus Green, of internet consultancy Toolkit Websites, said: ‘Who knows what Viacom could do with that information.
‘It could create a precedent for other companies to get users’ search history.’
The ruling was only a partial victory for Viacom, which had also been seeking Google’s confidential search code – which reveals how the site works.
But this was a ‘trade secret’ and should not be disclosed, a court in New York ruled.
Viacom will not be allowed to use the user information for anything other than the current lawsuit, it added.http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=203414&in_pa