What you read says a lot about what you think and believe. That’s why the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the Samuelson Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, filed an objection to the proposed Google Book Search settlement on behalf of authors and readers concerned about inadequate privacy safeguards in the book service. Now a federal court has rejected that proposed settlement. In today’s court opinion, the judge wrote that "[t]he privacy concerns [with Google Book Search] are real."
We urged the court to reject the proposed settlement unless Google took several important steps to protect user privacy:
As we pointed out in Digital Books: A New Chapter for Reader Privacy, our recent issue paper, digital book services are growing in popularity. These services may collect detailed information about readers and the books they browse, the pages they read, and even the notes they write in the “margins.” The time is now to retain and strengthen reader privacy in the digital age and ensure that sensitive browsing and reading history does not improperly end up in the hands of the government or third parties.
To address this challenge, we are working with EFF to introduce landmark digital book privacy legislation in California. (Stay tuned!) But we need companies like Google to support these efforts — and to ensure that their digital book products protect reader privacy.
As the court noted today, Google has an opportunity to incorporate additional privacy protections into its Book Search product. Please let Google know that you demand strong reader privacy protections for the digital age by signing our petition today.