The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that the California Reader Privacy Act has been signed into law. The act “will establish privacy protections for book purchases [including e-book purchases] similar to long-established privacy laws for library records.”
While the EFF trumpets this as a victory for reader privacy, Death and Taxes Magazine points out that it is still superseded at the federal level by the Patriot Act. Given that elsewhere the EFF reports a US attorney demanded the book purchase records of 24,000 customers from Amazon, this is troubling. It seems doubtful the EFF will have much luck counteracting that at the federal level.
Also, as ReadWriteWeb points out, the law only applies to books and e-books, leaving other materials and services unprotected. It is also only effective in California, leaving the other 49 states without even that level of protection. Still, hopefully it will serve as a model for other legislation to add additional protections elsewhere.