July 22, 2009
Privacy Opposition to Google Books Settlement Grows
The ACLU of Northern California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at Berkeley Law School sent a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (PDF) today. It was about books. Why books? Google is planning to dramatically expand its book service, Google Book Search. The good news is that millions of books will be available for browsing, reading, and purchasing online. But the bad news is that Google is leaving reader privacy behind. What you choose to read says a lot about who you are, what you value, and what you believe. You should be able to read about politics, health, or anything else without worrying that someone is looking over your shoulder. That’s why the ACLU has fought alongside libraries and bookstores time and again to defend the privacy of readers. Now we need your help to protect reader privacy into the digital era. Currently, Google Book Service can monitor the books you browse and search for, the pages you read, and even the notes you write in the “margins.” Without strong privacy protections, all of your browsing and reading history may be collected, tracked, and turned over to the government or third parties without your knowledge or consent."