Google Book Search Privacy Policy Mirrors Web Search, with One Hopeful, albeit Limited, Difference

The proposed Google Book Search Settlement Agreement has been the target of numerous criticisms, not the least of which has been its incredible impact on -- and incredible silence about -- users' intellectual privacy. After pressure by the FTC and advocacy groups, Google published a Privacy Policy for Google Books. In announcing the publication of this privacy policy, Google notes that "Google Books has always been covered by the general Privacy Policy for all of Google's services". Unfortunately, the fact that Google repeats that Google Books will follow the same privacy policy of general Web searching means the norms of data collection of the Web will likely prevail over the norms of the library. All the reasons we are concerned about the privacy of our Web searches are now amplified with the possible emergence of a large-scale infrastructure to track and monitor book searches.

Thoughts on Privacy and the Google Book Settlement

I shared my thoughts on privacy and the Google Book Settlement at the “Google Books Settlement and the Future of Information Access” conference organized by the UC-Berkeley School of Information. My remarks focused on my desire to trust Google when they say they're "thinking hard" about these issues and promise to "protect readers' privacy rights", while noting their track record is reason enough to cause us some pause, which is why we're pushing so hard as advocates on these vital concerns.

Google Book Search Settlement and Reader Privacy: Questions & Answers

As the possible approval of the Google Book Search Settlement Agreement looms, various advocacy groups have brought attention to the fact that Google might gain even greater ability to monitor the books you browse, the pages you read, and even the highlights and marginal notes you make on digital copies of books.

Amazon Removes Books from Kindle, Exposing the True Concern: They’re Watching, They’re in Control

Amazon has remotely removed copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from user’s Kindles while crediting their accounts, indicating that the books were improperly added to the Kindle store by a company that did not have the rights to them. More than just an eBook reader, the Kindle represents the latest cog in Amazon's large-scale infrastructure of intellectual surveillance.

Stutzman: Google exposes Book Search patron records

I've written frequently about how the shift from accessing information in offline spaces to online spaces has particular privacy implications. For example, strikingly different privacy norms and expectations emerge when comparing information-seeking activities in libraries vs. bookstores vs. Google Book…

Further Update on Local Library SSN Practices – Divulgence is Voluntary

This week I received a formal reply to my July 2 letter to the Shorewood, Wisconsin Public Library regarding its requiring I provide my social security number to obtain a library card, that confirms the anecdotal evidence that the library…

Local Library uses RFID to Manage Materials, but Privacy Concerns Abound

Continuing the theme of privacy issues related to my new home library system (and I still haven't received any reply from the Shorewood Public Library regarding their collection of patron social security numbers), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the…

Librarian Fired for Reporting Child Porn Web Surfing, but Questions Linger

Chronicles of Dissent reports the story of librarian Brenda Biesterfeld, who says she was fired after alerting authorities that a patron was viewing child pornography on library computers. Apparently she notified her supervisor (Hill) who told her merely to give…