California adds digital books to privacy laws

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation noted in a press release that records of digital books can be more sensitive than library or physical bookstore records. In addition to recording which books people have purchased, digital readers can also collect information about which books people browse, how long they viewed a page and notes they made in the margins.

"Without strong privacy protections like the ones in the Reader Privacy Act, reading records can be too easily targeted by government scrutiny as well as exposed in legal proceedings like divorce cases and custody battles," the Electronic Frontier Foundation said in its release.

"California law was completely inadequate when it came to protecting one's privacy for book purchases, especially for online shopping and electronic books," said state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who sponsored the bill. "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."