Sep 052009
 September 5, 2009  Posted by  Business, Court, Featured News, Online

Cindy Cohn of EFF has a commentary on Google’s new privacy policy for Google Books that suggests that the new policy is better, but not sufficient. Cohen writes:

Late yesterday afternoon, September 3, 2009, Google finally issued a privacy policy for Google Books, both the current service and the extensive new book-related services they hope to have a federal court approve in October.

While there are some good things in the policy — many that EFF and its coalition partners the ACLU of Northern California and the Samuelson Clinic at Berkeley Law School have long been urging Google to do — it is still falls well short of the privacy protections that readers need, both substantively and in whether it will be permanent and readily enforceable by readers. Our coalition on behalf of authors and publishers seeking to protect reader privacy will still be filing an Objection to the Settlement in Court on Tuesday, September 8.

First, and most importantly, the privacy policy fails to address our core concerns about the standards for disclosure of reading habits to the government and private litigants.


Second, the privacy policy is procedurally insufficient to protect readers and authors who depend on reader privacy. While a privacy policy could be written to create enforceable promises, Google has issued a “website business as usual” privacy policy. Those policies can be changed at any time and may be unenforceable by readers whose privacy has been violated.


Third, Google also failed to include many other items in the list of privacy demands we published in July…


Read the full EFF analysis and commentary  here.

In related developments, Ryan Singel of Epicenter reports that:

A key privacy group is seeking to intervene in the ongoing copyright lawsuit over Google’s plan to build the library and bookstore of the future, arguing that reader privacy is at risk no matter how much Google promises to have a good privacy policy.

EPIC, or the Electronic Privacy Information Center, asked federal court judge Denny Chin on Friday to allow it to formally intervene on behalf of readers’ privacy interests in the suit pitting Google against the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers.

For a European privacy-centric perspective, see the commentary by Open Rights Group.

And Michael Zimmer has more on the objections of academic authors to the proposed court settlement.

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