Google has had its fair share of privacy issues, and I don’t think there could be a better time to recap their past incidents. So here is a quick list of the things that have happened in the past related to Google’s privacy (oldest first):
- Picasa’s private albums available to the public
- Blogger feeds available for private blogs
- Gmail flaw shows anyone your contact list
- Google Street View had some interesting images, and getting yourself removed from there was a pain
- Google Docs doesn’t make your images private
And now there is a new one to chalk up on the list: private YouTube videos can be downloaded by anyone. I guess their help section doesn’t tell the whole truth:
When you make a video private, you have the option of sharing it with a select number of people from any of the lists you’ve created (you have two default lists, "Friends" and "Family"). If you don’t select a list, your private video can only be viewed by your account. If you share it with members on a list, it will only be viewable by those select members on that list.
So how can you get your hands on a private video? All you need is the ID of the YouTube video, and then you paste it onto the end of this URL:
Using this private video as an example, here is what the URL would look like:
That URL will prompt you to download the video in FLV format, which can easily be played from your own computer. I know that manually entering in that URL can be a pain, so I’ve put together a bookmarklet that will prompt you for the ID of the YouTube video. After it’s entered in the download will immediately begin. To use the bookmarklet just right click on this link and bookmark it:
Google’s security woes continue to haunt them, but I hope they continue to get better as time goes on. Is it that they’re rushing products out the door without testing them thoroughly?