Got Reader Privacy? California Nearly Does With Senate Approval of Reader Privacy Act

Call me crazy, but I think privacy is important. Reader privacy too. But not everyone agrees.
Call me crazy, but I think privacy is important. Reader privacy too. Not everyone agrees. I was recently told that I and other privacy minders were a bunch of "nanny librarians raising histrionics over such a non-issue" when I questioned whether Amazon should keep on file a permanent linked record of my purchases and my library ebook lending history. (Contrast that with how us privacy advocates like to imagine ourselves.) That's why it's heartening to read of the sympathizers over in the California State Senate, which recently approved the Reader Privacy Act of 2011--unanimously--and sent it along to the State Assembly:
Today, the California State Senate unanimously approved the Reader Privacy Act of 2011 – legislation that would require government agencies to seek a warrant in order to access consumers’ reading records from bookstores and online retailers. The bill – SB 602 authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) – would establish consumer protec tions for book purchases similar to long-established privacy laws for library records. (via Reader Privacy Act Unanimously Approved by Senate)
From LJ's original story with background on the bill:
Even though 48 states have laws protecting public library reading records from disclosure, the laws did not anticipate the huge growth of digital books and the collection of information by digital book services such as Amazon or Google, Cindy Cohn, the legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said in testimony before the Judiciary Committee on April 12. The EFF is sponsoring the legislation, along with California affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union. "This includes incredibly intrusive information—books browsed, how long a page is viewed, and even the notes written in the margins. This information can paint a strikingly intimate portrait of Californians, and, unfortunately, without legislative protection, presents an attractive target for government or private litigants," Cohn said.
We're not there yet, but a proposed bill making progress in a major state legislature is a step in the right direction. Hat tip: California: “Reader Privacy Act Approved by Senate”; Bill Moves to Cali State Assembly Next « INFOdocket.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month