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Should the government need a warrant to access your Google Books history?

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.”

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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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.