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June 20, 2005

Being Evil?

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Speaking of privacy concerns, Google’s Library project continues to take heat from all sides. Panned by publishers and librarians alike, the most recent complaint comes from the American Library Association (ALA) and other privacy activist groups who are concerned by an agreement with the University of Michigan which contains no provisions for protecting the privacy of future users of the library’s online catalogue. Google’s habit of tracking everything a user does has long been a subject of controversy.

From the C|Net article:

“I would have hoped that the University of Michigan would be sensitive to the fact that Google tracks everything that everyone searches,” said Daniel Brandt, founder of the Web site.

The ALA ethics guidelines recommend that libraries preserve the privacy and confidentiality of library users and recommends they ask third-party partners to retain the same degree of protection. Google’s data gathering clearly violates this, privacy advocates say.

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