Should the government need a warrant to access your Google Books history?
By Kristopher A. Nelson
in August 2009
300 words / 2 min. Should accessing content via the Google Books service provide the same protections as one would receive when relying on a bookstore? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the ACLU say, “Yes.”
Note: this post is from 2009. Evaluate with care and in light of later events.
Should accessing content via the Google Books service provide the same protections as one would receive when relying on a bookstore? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the ACLU say, “Yes”:
The central question in the privacy debate that EFF and our partners at the ACLU of Northern California and the Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley have been having with Google about Google Book Search is whether this exciting new digital library/bookstore is going to maintain the strong protections for reader privacy that traditional libraries and bookstores have fought for and largely won.
via Warrants Required: EFF and Google’s Big Disagreement about Google Book Search | Electronic Frontier Foundation.
I think I can safely say that I am in agreement with the ACLU and EFF on this one. Warrants, requiring judicial approval, are an important safeguard, although not perfect. They are routine for most investigations of physical locations, and, I think, ought to be so for virtual ones as well.
Of course, this prevents large-scale “data mining” activities by governments, who could conceivable flag suspicious activity for future investigation — but that, I think, is how it should be.
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