Oct 7, 2011
The Reader Privacy Act (SB 602) prevents government and third parties from demanding access to private reading records without proper legal justification.
As great numbers of Californians use online book services to browse, purchase, and read books, California online privacy laws are attempting to stay current with developments, protecting reader privacy in a digital age of surveillance.
The EFF and the ACLU co-sponsored the online privacy bill, which was authored by California State Senator Leland Yee.
"This is great news for Californians, updating their privacy for the 21st Century. The Reader Privacy Act will help Californians protect their personal information whether they use new digital book services or their corner bookstore," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.
What Californians browse, shop for, or read on the Internet reveals private data about personal political views, religious beliefs, health concerns and attitudes toward legislators, agencies, administrations or elected officials.
"Individuals should be free to buy books without fear of government intrusion and witch hunts. If law enforcement has reason to suspect wrongdoing, they should obtain a court order for such information," said California State Senator Leland Yee, the bill's author.
Without strong Internet privacy protections like the ones in the California Reader Privacy Act, reading records can be too easily targeted by government scrutiny as well as exposed in litigation and all types of legal proceedings.
"California should be a leader in ensuring that upgraded technology does not mean downgraded privacy," said Valerie Small Navarro, ACLU California Legislative Advocate.
"We should be able to read about anything from politics, to religion, to health without worrying that the government might be looking over our shoulder," Navarro added.
The California Reader Privacy Act (SB 602) had many supporters, including:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- California Library Association
- Californians Aware
- Center for Democracy and Technology
- Consumer Federation of California
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Internet Archive
- Monsoon Commerce Solutions
- Privacy Activism
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
- Professor Pamela Samuelson, UC Berkeley
- Various California authors
- Various California bookstores
- Voters from all political parties