WAAL10: Preserving Intellectual Freedom in the Face of Googlization

Posted by Lisa Strand on Thursday, April 22, 2010 in WLA Blog Archive









The Google Books Settlement

Prof. Michael Zimmer, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee

* http://michaelzimmer.org/

* "Spheres of mobility" - can be physical, intellectual, digital - freedom to improve ourselves

* Historically, we've had general freedom to move about in these spheres without people looking over our shoulders

* Much of our mobility has been redefined and converged through Google - Siva Vaidhyanathan: "The Googlization of Everything"

* Faustian bargain - may constrain/restrict our ability to move about in these spheres

* Data-vaillance - surveillance of personal data - built into Google's infrastructure

* Searching is not anonymous - cookies identify your computer, Google encourages creation of accounts - including Gmail, actions increasingly linkable, data is retained, their goals include selling advertising personalized to you

* Google Book Search - launched Google Print in 2004; they already had a digitization service in place

* UW-Madison and Wisconsin Historical Society Library joined the project

* Notable lawsuits: US Authors Guild, Assn of American Publisher - Settlement proposed - cash payment of a couple hundred million dollars; creation of a book rights registry - anytime someone paid for access, some money would funnel back to authors/publishers; allowed advertising (Amazon.com, etc.)

* Anti-trust +  international copyright concerns

* Revised settlement now back in front of a judge

* Deleterious to intellectual freedom and privacy - non-anonymous

* After pressure from European Union, cookie only lasts 2 years (except it renews each time you visit)

* At a library, I can pick a book up and read it without being identified or tracked; libraries delete patron records after various amounts of time

* Settlement requires authentication before buying a book

* In future, might need to log in just to search, or to read free books in Google Books

* Concerned that our gains will be overshadowed by our losses

* How do we build library/librarian values and norms into Google Books settlement?

* Libraries/librarians have attended related conferences, written letters, asked questions - mainly, Google is remaining silent - they say they need to build the product first and think about privacy next, but this is a flawed design

* "Media ecology" - systemic effects of these decisions

* Dept. of Justice and Federal Trade Commission indicated they'd block settlement - Google finally released some information about privacy (July 23, 2009)

* Can you trust Google?  Their people are nice, but...

* Other countries have laws that required Google to protect more privacy than they do in the U.S. - ex: Google Street View - faces blurred

* Libraries are facing more of these issues themselves; decisions need to be made - Patriot Act challenges, Facebook pages giving access to patron information, etc.

* There will always be a struggle with privacy and security

* Google actually refused an order to provide a month's worth of search data, from government agency trying to determine how easy it is to return child pornography from innocent searches - all other search engines complied

* Google uses encrypted login and doesn't allow advertising based on their Health Records service

* Google reports to Chilling Effects Clearinghouse when they've been requested to take something down from YouTube, etc.

* Electricity involvement has made them a de facto public utility - so far, they haven't been treated as such
Tags: 2010, WAAL
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