After discussions with EFF, YouTube has implemented additional privacy protections for visitors to Whitehouse.gov viewing embedded videos hosted by YouTube.
In response, The White House first made sure that YouTube's cookies were not served merely upon visiting the website, much like EFF does with MyTube. That was a good step.
Now YouTube says that they have taken a second step urged by EFF: essentially ignoring their account cookies for videos viewed on Whitehouse.gov. Ordinarily, YouTube maintains a record of every YouTube video you’ve ever viewed, associated with your YouTube account, through use of the YouTube cookie. Now, they’ve agreed to exempt videos embedded on Whitehouse.gov from this logging.
This is a good step and we commend YouTube and the Government for taking it. It shows that they recognize that tracking the government videos that Americans view is creepy and wrong. It also shows that Google/YouTube technologists can build and offer clever, useful privacy-protective modifications to their standard software.
Now we'd like to see them turn that cleverness to other places, not just the White House. Google/YouTube should offer this same "tracking-free" viewing to others. Human rights videos, politically sensitive videos, or even ordinary videos where viewers may want privacy should all be available without tracking. This is all the more important given the recent announcement that your YouTube viewing habits are being linked to your general Google dossier.