ACLU, EFF Demand Reader Privacy Protection in Google Book Search
The American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Berkeley Law Public Policy Clinic call for Google to institute strong reader privacy protection in the design and policies of the Google Book Search project. The groups ask the search engine to erase reader logging data after 30 days, allow readers to erase their reading records and protect reader records from law enforcement officials.Fearing that Google has not instituted adequate privacy measures to protect readers in its Google Book Search initiative, three consumer rights groups have asked Google to let users delete their book purchase records, erase reader logging data after 30 days, and only disclose reader records for legitimate warrants and court orders. Google responded that the settlement has not even been approved by the court so the Google Book Search services haven't been built, let alone designed yet.
In a letter addressed to Google CEO Eric Schmidt (PDF) and dated July 23, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at Berkeley Law School charge that while Google has focused on how to expand its service for digitizing the world's books online, the search giant has not been clear about how it will protect its customers' privacy.
We're thinking hard about how best to build privacy protections into the products authorized under the settlement. We've been having ongoing discussions with a wide range of privacy advocates, and we look forward to talking more with them and others throughout the industry about how to protect the privacy of people who search, browse, and buy books online.Independent of the Department of Justice investigation, a U.S. District Court is examining the Google Books settlement and will hold a fairness hearing Oct. 7. Even so, Hugh D'Andrade, a graphic designer for the EFF, asked the public in this blog post to e-mail or write Google's Schmidt demanding privacy. Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson chimed in, and there is more on TechMeme here.