Please Join Authors, ACLU in Opposing Google Book Search Deal

(Originally posted on Daily Kos.)

A coalition of authors and publishers, represented by the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, filed an objection this morning in the Google Book Search case. The objection urges the federal judge to reject the proposed settlement because it lacks critical privacy rights for readers and writers.

The objection has been filed, but we need your help to protect reader privacy. Write Google CEO Eric Schmidt and tell him that you won’t pay for digital books with your privacy. Insist that Google promise that Book Search will not become a one-stop shop for government and third party fishing expeditions into your private life! 

Jonathan Lethem, best-selling novelist and winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, said:

Google Book Search and other digital book projects will redefine the way people read and research. Now is the moment to make sure that Google Book Search is as private as the world of physical books. If future readers know that they are leaving a digital trail for others to follow, they may shy away from important intellectual journeys.

If approved, the settlement would give Google the greenlight to scan and digitize millions of books and allow users to search for and read those books online. While the ACLU strongly supports efforts to expand access to information, Google’s service would also become the single largest collection of reading records in the world — like someone following you around the library, writing down every book you pick up and every page you read. Without strong privacy protections, this sensitive and highly personal information would be vulnerable to fishing expeditions by law enforcement or civil litigants.

Readers need to know that Google Book Search will provide as much privacy in online books as they have in a library or a bookstore, so that it doesn’t become a one-stop shop for government access to the private lives of Americans. Unfortunately, neither the current settlement nor Google’s just-announced Google Books privacy policy are adequate to protect user privacy, and therefore the coalition has filed its objection to the settlement.

For more information about privacy issues related to Google Book Search and to write a note to Google, visit www.aclunc.org/googlebooks.

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Anonymous

Altogether you people try your hardest to take away my rights of my christian faith. You are suppose to portect people like me, and you don't. The whole organization tries to tear out the roots of the christian faith in this country, and this country was founded on the christian faith. And to be frank, I am sick of it. One day though soon when the Lord does come back, you'll get everything that is coming to you!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve

If this has to do with the way Google keeps records of every search that is done on their site, I don't have a problem with it. I love programs like Forensic Files and other true crime shows, and a good deal of these crimes are solved because of a search the alledged criminal did on Google. If the person who wrote this post is speaking of something entirely different, please correct me of my error.

American Loyalist

I hope you guys fry in hell and before that get tried in court for treason. Exposing our agents to the enemy is endangering our military and my buddies overseas. You friggin' assholes....

It's simple...

Regarding the Google Book Scenario...if you have nothing to hide then why care who is following behind you watching every move you make? Paranoia will destroy ya! Find something better to do with your time...like get a job!

jonc

The privacy issue is very important, but in the bigger picture, Google will have a virtual monopoly on written manuscripts, even those now in the public domain. They will have the power to control what books can be accessed online. Trusting one company with this power, with little oversight, is a disaster waiting to happen.

Bob

I am generally quite libertarian in my thinking. But if someone tried to check out or search for "Chrysler building blueprints", "Anarchist's catechisis" and "home made explosives" in rapid succession, I surely would not want them to be able to remain anonymous.

roald

It's simple, unfortunately is not so simple because we cannot trust the people with access to the information. This has been demonstrated over and over.

Paen

If they have nothing to hide I guess our wing nut friends won't object to being subject to body cavity searches.

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