CDT Releases Privacy Recommendations for Expanded Google Book Search Service
Washington--The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) today released a report analyzing the privacy risks associated with the proposed expansion of Google Book Search. The report urges Google to commit to a strong privacy regime for the new service in advance of the settlement fairness hearing this fall. The tentative settlement between Google and publishers, the result of a copyright infringement lawsuit, would dramatically alter the way the public obtains and interacts with books. The report asks the court to approve the settlement but to retain oversight in order to monitor implementation of a privacy plan.
"The new service will considerably increase public access to millions of books containing much of the world's written knowledge and ideas and will transform how the public conducts research, interacts with written text and shares information and ideas with others," Leslie Harris, CDT's President and CEO. "The public will benefit from approval of the settlement, but Google has to get privacy right."
Libraries have a long history of protecting reader privacy and safeguarding the right to read anonymously; the report highlights how Google can best adapt to its new role as traditional library functions are centralized and moved online. The report recommends that Google issue a set of privacy commitments that explains both its general approach to protecting reader privacy and its process for addressing privacy in greater detail as the service matures. The report also asks the court, as part of its supervision of the settlement, to monitor implementation of these privacy commitments.
"This report should be the beginning of a continuing discussion about how Google can protect privacy rights as the settlement is implemented," said Andrew McDiarmid, CDT Policy Analyst and the principal author of the report. "Since the reading public was not represented in the settlement negotiations it is the court's responsibility to make sure privacy is protected as library collections move online."
The report is available online on CDT's Web Site here.