Tuesday, September 8, 2009

SF authors Michael Chabon, Cory Doctorow, Annalee Newitz object to privacy flaws in $125m Google Book Search settlement

Science fiction authors Michael Chabon, Cory Doctorow and Annalee Newitz have joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) written legal objection to privacy flaws in the proposed $125 million Google Book Search settlement. Founded in 1990 and based in San Francisco, EFF is a civil liberties group committed to defending rights in the digital world.

Here’s the link to EFF’s court filing (44 pages, PDF) and here are the biographies of the three authors, taken directly from the filing:

• “Michael Chabon is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. His work is characterized by complex language, frequent use of metaphor, and an extensive vocabulary, along with numerous recurring themes, including nostalgia, divorce, abandonment, fatherhood, religious identity and anti-Semitism. He often includes gay, bisexual, and Jewish characters in his work. Mr. Chabon states: ‘If there is no privacy of thought—which includes implicitly the right to read what one wants, without approval, consent or knowledge of others—then there is no privacy, period.’”

• “Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger—the co-editor of the blog Boing Boing (www.boingboing.net). His most recent book is a bestselling teen science fiction novel about teenagers who, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on the San Francisco public transit system, use computers and computer networking tools to defend themselves against a growing authoritarian regime. The book includes technical instructions for use of most of those tools. His previous science fiction works, including Overclocked, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Eastern Standard Tribe and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, address themes of technology and its impact on individuals and societies.” No mention that Doctorow was once employed by EFF.

• “Annalee Newitz’s work covers a number of political and cultural issues, including open source software, hacker subcultures, and other controversial topics. In her book Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture (2005), Newitz argues that the dehumanizing and violent character of capitalism is manifested in the depictions of various monsters, serial killers, cyborgs, and mad scientists in American horror and science fiction literature and film. Ms. Newitz has also contributed to White Trash: Race and Class in America (1997), a collection of essays about poor white Americans, and Collective Action: A Bad Subjects Anthology (2004), a politically radical collection of articles on racial and sexual politics, alternative communities, political activism, and other provocative topics.” No mention that Newitz is the editor of the SF blog io9.

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