PCMag reports that California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed the Reader Privacy Act (SB 602: HTML, PDF), which “will extend privacy protections currently in place for library records to book purchases, including e-books.”
The bill, known as the Reader Privacy Act of 2011, will require government agencies to obtain a court order before they access customer records from book stores or online retailers. It will officially become law on January 1.
“California law was completely inadequate when it came to protecting one’s privacy for book purchases, especially for online shopping and electronic books,” said Calif. state Sen. Leland Yee, the bill’s sponsor. “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.” […]
The bill was backed by the American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), as well as Google, TechNet, and the Consumer Federation of California.
“Reading choices reveal intimate facts about our lives, from our political and religious beliefs to our health concerns. Digital books and book services can paint an even more detailed picture—including books browsed but not read, particular pages viewed, how long spent on each page, and any electronic notes made by the reader,” the EFF said in a statement. […]
In May, Amazon announced that its customers were purchasing more Kindle books than print books. Since April 1, Amazon sold 105 Kindle books for every 100 print books purchased. Amazon did not count free Kindle books in its tally; if it did, that would make the number even higher, the company said.
In March, meanwhile, Apple said users have downloaded 100 million e-books via is iBooks platform.