Now, yes, it is a good thing that Google want to anonymise the logs in order respect user privacy. However, the tone of that statement does suggest that handing over the entire logs is something of a given. Remember that this is a lawyer speaking, who will have chosen her words very carefully.
Note that Lacavera did not say "if we produce them under the court's order" or "if the court's order is upheld" both of which would suggest that expected appeal is coming. What she said was "before producing them" as if this was a done deal.
But wait, there's more. This time in the form of an ironic twist to the privacy argument. Read on to find out what it is...
Meanwhile, in an ironic twist, the New York Times reports that Google has added the word 'privacy' to it's home page. This follows an appeal to Google CEO Eric Schmidt in the form of a letter signed by the likes of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, World Privacy Forum, Consumer Action, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU of Northern California and Consumer Federation of California.
A Google spokesman told the New York Times that the change had been made because "Some users, bloggers, and regulatory bodies have asked us why we didn’t have a link." Maybe, in light of the Viacom ruling, it could have just said "you have no privacy, get over it."
What it does say, when you click through to the policy pages, amongst other things is that "Google's servers automatically record information when you visit our website or use some of our products, including the URL, IP address, browser type and language, and the date and time of your request" and "We may also share information with third parties in limited circumstances, including when complying with legal process, preventing fraud or imminent harm, and ensuring the security of our network and services."
Which is much the same thing...
Is Google painting itself into a corner, and what does Privacy International have to say about it all? Find out on the final page...
Certainly Privacy International appears to think so if reports that it is to make a formal complaint about Google handing over the YouTube logs to data-protection officials from all 27 European Union nations on Monday are correct.
All of which makes the apparent decision by Google not to appeal the Viacom ruling, not to be seen to fight for the privacy of the people who use its services, very odd indeed.