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    Op-Ed at Times Herald-Record: E-book readers deserve some privacy

    The Times Herald-Record has an opinion column about protecting the privacy of book readers:

    How would you like it if the bookstore you happened to visit kept track of every book you look at before you make your decision on what to buy? And after the purchase, would it be OK with you if the bookstore recorded how often you read the book, how long you view each page and even any notes you might write in the book’s margins?

    Well, all those things are happening now with digital books. Many bookstores already collect information about readers and their purchases.

    But digital book services can collect even more detailed information that often is bundled in a database and sold to marketers or acquired by governments. […]

    New York’s and other states’ book privacy laws were written for libraries and did not anticipate online services that can collect vast amounts of information about reading habits.

    Digital book services without reader privacy protections have created a gold mine of information that can be used against readers without their knowledge and without proper due process. […]

    A bill in the state Assembly would offer some privacy protection.

    The Reader Privacy Act, similar to legislation in California, would prevent digital book service providers from disclosing to any government entity personal information of a person who buys digital books.

    Providers would not be compelled to disclose such information to anyone except under court order.

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