Thursday, April 22, 2010

WAAL10: Preserving Intellectual Freedom in the Face of Googlization

The Google Books Settlement

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


* "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 (, 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

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