Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Privacy Missing From Google Books Settlement; PC World, 8/28/09

Robert McMillan via PC World; Privacy Missing From Google Books Settlement:

"If Google digitizes the world's books, how will it keep track of what you read?

That's one of the unanswered questions that librarians and privacy experts are grappling with as Google attempts to settle a long-running lawsuit by publishers and copyright holders and move ahead with its effort to digitize millions of books, known as the Google Books Library Project.

For librarians, many of whom are working with Google to digitize their collections of books, it's a thorny question. That's because librarians and the online world have different standards for dealing with user information. Many libraries routinely delete borrower information, and organizations such as the American Library Association have fought hard to preserve the privacy of their patrons in the face of laws such as the U.S. Patriot Act.

But now, as more and more titles become available in Google Book Search, it's not clear whether digital readers will enjoy the same privacy protections they have at the library. "Which way are we going to go?" said Michael Zimmer, a professor from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. "Is this service going to be an extension of the library, or an extension of Web searching?""

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