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 (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