Video: Paris Hilton Responds to McCain’s Celebrity Ad – Unveils Energy Policy

You know, it’s actually funny. It’s just that don’t know what to think about the fact that her energy policy actually makes sense. Of course, McCain has been saying essentially the same thing:

The strategy I propose won’t be another grab bag of handouts to this or that industry and a full employment act for lobbyists. It will promote the diversification and conservation of our energy sources that will in sufficient time break the dominance of oil in our transportation sector just as we diversified away from oil use in electric power generation thirty years ago; and substantially reduce the impact of our energy consumption on the planet. It will rely on the genius and technological prowess of American industry and science. Government must set achievable goals, but the markets should be free to produce the means. And those means are within our reach.

…There is much we can do to increase our own oil production in ways that protect the environment using advanced technologies, including those that use and bury carbon dioxide, to recover the oil below the wells we have already drilled, and tap oil, natural gas, and shale economically with minimal environmental impact.

The Onion: Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet

The modern mythology of Superman brilliantly suffused with Al Gore’s bizarro take (pun intended) on the world:

Former vice president Al Gore—who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save—launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.

“I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen,” said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. “They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?”

Al Gore—or, as he is known in his own language, Gore-Al—placed his son, Kal-Al, gently in the one-passenger rocket ship, his brow furrowed by the great weight he carried in preserving the sole survivor of humanity’s hubristic folly.

Viacom Gets to Know Your Entire YouTube Viewing History

One more confirmation that privacy, especially as it relates to your online activities, does not exist:

Google must divulge the viewing habits of every user who has ever watched any video on YouTube, a US court has ruled.

The ruling comes as part of Google’s legal battle with Viacom over allegations of copyright infringement.

Digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the ruling a “set-back to privacy rights”.

The viewing log, which will be handed to Viacom, contains the log-in ID of users, the computer IP address (online identifier) and video clip details.

While the legal battle between the two firms is being contested in the US, it is thought the ruling will apply to YouTube users and their viewing habits everywhere.

The EFF is monitoring the case:

The court’s order grants Viacom’s request and erroneously ignores the protections of the federal Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), and threatens to expose deeply private information about what videos are watched by YouTube users. The VPPA passed after a newspaper disclosed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s video rental records. As Congress recognized, your selection of videos to watch is deeply personal and deserves the strongest protection.

You have to wonder if Viacom will launch lawsuits against YouTube users once they have this data in hand.

The Guardian’s Kevin Anderson notes my concerns and points to an equally troubled Christopher Dawson:

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but a lot of people watch videos on YouTube. While Viacom claims that it only wants the logs to determine if more people, in the aggregate, watch videos that infringe on copyrights than original materials, there is nothing to stop Viacom from using the data RIAA-style to go after users.

What if teachers in your schools showed a video they found on YouTube that contained content from an MTV broadcast? Or a documentary produced by a Viacom property?

I’m looking forward to a statement from Viacom concerning their intentions. Are they going take legal action against YouTube users? Can they share and or sell this data and do they intend to do so? Do they intend to make any of it public? How will they secure the data once it’s in their possession? If you’re a YouTube user you might want to contact Viacom to express your displeasure.

The Motley Fool has a warning for Viacom in what it’s calling one of the week’s dumbest stock moves:

This move should not be interpreted as a sign that Viacom will be suing individual YouTube users, though privacy activists will rightfully rake Viacom over the coals. Here you have a media giant that leans on viral videos from time to time through VH-1 and its comedy news shows, and now it’s going for the YouTube jugular? Anyone remember when the major record labels began demanding user IP data and suing individual file swappers? Life hasn’t worked out so well for the music companies since then, has it?

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington has a few words for the judge as well:

I say this with the utmost respect, but Judge Stanton is a moron.


Update II:
There is some good news. The court has placed strict limitations on Viacom’s use of the data:

The court’s protective order stipulates that data turned over to Viacom by Google must be used for the sole purpose of proving Viacom’s claim against Google that YouTube is a hotbed of pirated video content, the sources said. Viacom will not have direct access to the YouTube user data, the source said. Access is restricted to outside counsel and experts.

Viacom, therefore, is forbidden from targeting individual users in the manner of the RIAA’s lawsuits against individuals found to be downloading illegal music.

Good news, but there are still extremely troubling precedents being set here and who’s to say how user data will be used in future cases?