From an Electronic Frontier Foundation Update by Rebecca Jeschke:
California has taken another big step towards updating reader privacy for the digital age. The State Senate Judiciary Committee passed through SB 602, the Reader Privacy Act, after hearing testimony from EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn and others in support of the bill Tuesday.
As Cindy told the judiciary committee, the books we choose to read reveal private information about our political and religious beliefs or interests, our health concerns, our financial situation, and our personal and professional lives. Maintaining reader privacy is fundamental to the dignity of Californians, and this principle is well ensconced in state law. However, with the market for digital books exploding, the law needs an update for the 21st Century.
Digital book services, libraries, and bookstores collect far more information than physical bookstores and libraries do. The data can include books browsed, how long a page is viewed, and even the electronic notes written in the margins. It’s not hard to see the detailed portrait this could paint of your life. Without legislative protection, that information is a tempting target for the government or other litigants, like those involved in divorce cases, custody battles, or insurance disputes.