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Government Privacy United States News

White House Ditches YouTube 204

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the but-i-thought-google-bought-and-paid-for-the-US-already dept.
An anonymous reader writes to tell us that in an apparent response to privacy complaints, the White House has quietly moved off of YouTube as a method for serving the President's weekly video address. Choosing instead to use a Flash-based solution and Akamai's content delivery network, this comes just days after YouTube began to roll out their own new policies regarding privacy of visitors.
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White House Ditches YouTube

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  • Wise choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:37PM (#27045517)

    Wise choice.

    I never understood why they would choose YouTube over other Internet "channels". It is not exactly a "neutral choice".

    If the president would like to speak to the American people, why not choose something not affiliated with any company.

    But, as a non-American, what do I know.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:41PM (#27045571) Journal

    This is a response to a legitimate privacy concern.

    Saying, "The government should be forced to re-invent the wheel instead of using a popular free service" is silly. YouTube is perfectly acceptable in most respects.

    If they had stayed with YouTube, despite privacy concerns, that would have been bad. But there is nothing wrong with starting out using a popular free site.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick (976696) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:43PM (#27045589)
    Saving them possible thousands of dollars! While alienating the world outside the US even further. Brilliant.
  • Re:Wise choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by White Flame (1074973) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:47PM (#27045627)

    Not affiliated with any company? Your only choices are pay to self-host (and that means affiliating with a hosting provider), or go P2P.

    Remember, Akamai is a company, too.

  • Odd... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:48PM (#27045645)

    "Choosing instead to use a Flash-based solution"

    Last time I checked, YouTube uses flash as well.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deag (250823) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:51PM (#27045673)

    The BBC streams some things - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/also_in_the_news/7919495.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    I also think there is a big difference between a television station broadcasting something and what amounts to a press release.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techno-vampire (666512) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:53PM (#27045693) Homepage
    Your only choices are pay to self-host (and that means affiliating with a hosting provider)

    In case you forgot, this is the US Federal Government we're talking about here. It has ample bandwidth and as much access to the Internet Backbone as it needs. All they need to do is dedicate some servers in some government datacenter to this and Bjorn Stronginthearm's your uncle!

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday March 02, 2009 @06:57PM (#27045767) Homepage

    Wise choice.

    I never understood why they would choose YouTube over other Internet "channels". It is not exactly a "neutral choice".

    If the president would like to speak to the American people, why not choose something not affiliated with any company.

    But, as a non-American, what do I know.

    Because youtube's a trendy, high-traffic site with a lot of hip factor and buzz?

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dayze!Confused (717774) <slashdot,org&ohyonghao,com> on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:00PM (#27045787) Homepage Journal

    ...I just hope they block overseas views so our taxes don't pay for that bandwidth. Just like the the BBC does with it's feeds.

    I am an American citizen but I live overseas, I wouldn't like having it blocked, I try to stay up to date on things happening in the US and I still have to pay US taxes on all of my income.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:03PM (#27045813)

    Saying, "The government should be forced to re-invent the wheel

    They dont have to re-invent the wheel. They merely have to buy a copy of the wheel.

    instead of using a popular free service" is silly. YouTube is perfectly acceptable in most respects.

    Youtube isn't "free" in any sense except that the video watchers don't have to pay money directly to google.

    The government should be providing access to its video content for "free" in a much broader sense. We are paying for through our taxes after all. We shouldn't be subject to corporate sponsorship, corporate data-mining/tracking etc.

    If the government wants to release copies to youtube, fox news, hulu, netflix, xbox live, and whatever else that's fine, but they should also be hosting and providing copies themselves, directly and freely.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:07PM (#27045839)

    "If the president would like to speak to the American people, why not choose something not affiliated with any company."

    Cameras? cables, routers, programmers, artists, production software? Should all be homemade by the White house?

    ok then.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 (162816) on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:07PM (#27045843) Homepage Journal

    I never understood why they would choose YouTube over other Internet "channels". It is not exactly a "neutral choice".

    Because the White House (from Mr. I-Want-My-Blackberry on down) is now staffed by your basic Web 2.0 geeks who are used to doing everything with certain widely used platforms: YouTube, FaceBook, Blackberry, etc. They're having a hard time adapting to life in a big organization with an established federal IT infrastructure that doesn't know how to support their Macs, is suspicious of any application that hasn't been vetted by their bureaucracy, and is more about security than about communication. It's why whitehouse.gov is still such a mess: the people who are running it are just now learning that there's more to creating a government web site than opening a Blogster account.

    I think this Clash of Civilizations, snafus and all, is actually a healthy thing. It will force Obama's tech geeks to think things through and understand the real-world perils of the technology they love so much. And it will force the IT people to adapt the federal infrastructure to a world where online communication has become a central way of getting things done.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:22PM (#27046003)

    Saving them possible thousands of dollars! While alienating the world outside the US even further.

    Still better than spending a trillion dollars to piss off the rest of the world.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:31PM (#27046083)

    Oh wait. They don't. I hate corporations as much as the next guy, but to fear corporations is silly. Their ads are very easily ignored, and their products too. I've watched Obama on youtube, and it was no big deal. I don't have to hide in fear.

    Strawman argument. This has nothing to do with fear.

    Its the principle of the thing. As a free society we should have the right and ability to directly access our government records from our government, without being subject to interference or terms of any sort whatsoever by 3rd party companies, no matter how benign the terms or how popular their website is.

    If the government wants to outsource hosting to another company that's fine, but then its still on our terms of service. To submit to -their- terms is absurd. Eventually that will bite you in the ass.

    Whether its because google becomes capital-E evil, or it simply goes bankrupt, the government shouldn't rely on a 'free service' for the retention and public distribution of its records.

    As I said, I have no problem with the video being available on google, but if I don't want to patronize youtube to view my governments records/correspondance/etc I shouldn't have to.

    Its essentially the same argument for why governments should use open formats for documents.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:33PM (#27046109)

    I just hope they block overseas views so our taxes don't pay for that bandwidth.

          Can they block all the garbage coming out of Hollywood too, please?

          All that the US is very good at exporting nowadays is debt, anyway.

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Monday March 02, 2009 @07:35PM (#27046127) Homepage Journal

    Actually, we didn't have to pay for the broadcast of the radio address at all; there are many outlets that carry it, even on TV.

    Now, if you want it available on-demand, when you want it, that will cost you. Either in tax dollars, so we can accomodate an on-demand generation, or in privacy when you let them use something commercial and sponsored by ads.

    I vote for the tax dollars. My privacy is valuable. The Administration got this one right.

    YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, et al are not free, not even as in beer. They cost more than we dare think. Like when your credentials get cracked and you have to change passwords all over...

  • Re:Wise choice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Monday March 02, 2009 @08:14PM (#27046501)

    Whoosh...

  • by OldakQuill (1045966) on Monday March 02, 2009 @08:29PM (#27046633)

    Akamai is an odd choice of platform if The White House is concerned about privacy. Akamai serve about 20% of the world's Internet traffic and function as a "content delivery platform" for many big-name websites. Most of the work they do is in caching images and interactive media, as well as serving ads for many websites to improve loading speed. They are like Google in many ways, in that they have a massively distributed server network that spans 70 countries and are ingrained in many peoples' browsing experience.

    One of the things they are best known for is Internet usage statistics. They provide good indicators of general Internet use and use of specific services.

    Also like Google, they track users using various means, and use the details to profit. Most importantly, they use this information for advert targeting.

    There are two dissimilarities between Google and Akamai (ignoring the obvious dissimilarity of the two companies' models): Akamai have spent most of their life trying to find ways to make a profit and Akamai receive a lot less public scrutiny because their services are transparent to the end-user.

    If YouTube was abandoned due to Google's privacy practices, privacy advocates should be as concerned about the privacy practices of Akamai. Indeed, the extent to which Akamai tracks users needs to be investigated and exposed for the sake of public scrutiny.

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