October 6, 2009 | By Cindy Cohn

Google Should Use Extra Time to Add Privacy Into Google Book Search

Today EFF along with the ACLU and the privacy authors and publishers they represent, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries and the Association of College and Research Libraries, CDT, EPIC, SFLC, Professor James Grimmelman sent a joint letter to Google urging it to include privacy protections along with its reconsidered Google Book Search Settlement.

The Court considering the Google Book Search case granted the parties more time to renegotiate the settlement. The Court had received approximately 435 submissions about the settlement by both class members and amici. The American Library Association did a helpful analysis that estimates that 390 of the submissions object to the settlement and another 8 submissions support the settlement but with significant reservations. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice weighed in with serious reservations as well, leading the plaintiffs to seek the extension. The Court will still meet with the parties for a status conference on October 7.

The joint letter asks Google to take this time to implement the privacy suggestions made by EFF and others, noting author Jonathan Lethem's statement: "now is the moment to make sure that Google Book Search is as private as the world of physical books. If future readers know that they are leaving a digital trail for others to follow, they may shy away from important but eccentric intellectual journeys."

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