YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. It is owned by Google.
YouTube is integrated with Google’s suite of advertising technologies and services, including AdWords, DoubleClick, and Google Preferred. DoubleClick is “an advertising serving and tracking company that uses web cookies to track browsing behavior online by their IP address to deliver targeted ads. Other DoubleClick ad technologies used to target YouTube users include the Campaign Manager, which helps advertisers “identify, locate and understand your customers, wherever they are.”
You can find that Google operates tracking domains active on the YouTube page, “pubads.g.doubleclick.net” and “googleads.g.doubleclick.net” in addition to three cookies requested by *.youtube.com. YouTube serves a particular tracking cookie, “VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE” in order to continue monitoring users that have signed out of their account and to continue serving recommended videos related to that session. Of course, while you are logged in to any Google service, Google can track you with absolute precision. 
The YouTube app for android additionally uses the Google Firebase Analytics tracker which provides methods for logging events and setting user properties. The full app report finds that the YouTube app employs three trackers and requires 33 permission, 14 of which are considered dangerous such as access to the user’s location and contacts. 
For some time, a popular YouTube tracking sanitizer, Hooktube.com was a useful resource for accessing YouTube videos without being subjected to Google’s surveillance techniques in full. Hooktube was also useful for circumventing region blocking. However, Google, not to be stopped in their spying endeavors, served Hooktube’s operators with a cease and desist over their use of the YouTube API. Hooktube was effectively forced to use YouTube’s official embedded player if they wished to continue to operate, nullifying Hooktube as a viable means for privately viewing YouTube content.
All that said, it would be wise to avoiding using any of Google’s services. If you must access YouTube, we recommend doing so through one of the remaining sanitizers such as Invidious (https://redirect.invidious.io/).
This review was written by Alia Sarmor.
Formatting changes were done by the site maintainer.
2. Request to Investigate Google’s YouTube Online Service... [web.archive.org]
3. Stop YouTube tracking when signed out [web.archive.org] [archive.fo] [ghostarchive.org]
4. Youtube Android App Permissions [web.archive.org] [ghostarchive.org]
5. com.google.firebase.analytics [web.archive.org] [archive.is] [ghostarchive.org]
6. @swack on Twitter [archive.fo] [ghostarchive.org]
7. FreeTube Releases [web.archive.org] [via.hypothes.is] [archive.is] [ghostarchive.org]
8. Does Youtube track our Mac address?? [web.archive.org] [ghostarchive.org]
9. How does YouTube know what I've been watching? [web.archive.org] [ghostarchive.org]
10. Does the FSF use YouTube? [web.archive.org] [ghostarchive.org]
This article was created on 9/10/2018
This article was last updated on 6/19/2021
If you want to edit this article, or contribute your own article(s), visit us at the git repo on Codeberg. All contributions must be licensed under the CC0 license to be accepted.
Back to catalog