Over the past few months, we have been approached by groups leading a charge to recognize patron security and privacy as an important part of library purchasing responsibility. The facts are that many of the platforms licensed by libraries today do not prioritize and sometimes neglect basic steps to ensure libraries can protect patron security and privacy. The reason is simple: Libraries do not demand it.
Congress could soon vote on a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to get a search warrant from a judge to obtain emails, photographs and other documents Americans have stored online. This important legislation would update the law to reflect how people use the Internet today.
People don't trust them.
According to a survey just released by consultancy Prophet, neither Facebook nor Google is among the top 10 most relevant brands as ranked by consumers. Nor are they in the top 50. In fact, Facebook barely made the top 100. That's not because consumers don't find these platforms useful or even inspirational—they do. But when it comes to faith and confidence in what happens to people's personal information, everything falls apart.
After the June 2013 leaks by government contractor Edward Snowden about National Security Agency surveillance of Americans’ online and phone communications, Pew Research Center began an in-depth exploration of people’s views and behaviors related to privacy. Our recent report about how Americans think about privacy and sharing personal information was a capstone of this two-and-a-half-year effort that examined how people viewed not only government surveillance but also commercial transactions involving the capture of personal information.
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has published a set of consensus principles for the library, content-provider and software-provider communities to address privacy issues related to the use of library and library-related systems. This set of principles developed over the past 8 months focus on balancing the expectations library users have regarding their intellectual freedoms and their privacy with the operational needs of systems providers.
In a televised address on Sunday, President Obama even alluded to the issue, saying he "will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice." And now, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for a commission on encryption and security threats.
So let's take a step back and talk about this technology and why it's in the spotlight.
Privacy, as we understand it, is only about 150 years old.
Humans do have an instinctual desire for privacy. However, for 3,000 years, cultures have nearly always prioritized convenience and wealth over privacy.
Section II will show how cutting edge health technology will force people to choose between an early, costly death and a world without any semblance of privacy. Given historical trends, the most likely outcome is that we will forgo privacy and return to our traditional, transparent existence.
The Ethics of Reader Privacy
This isn’t just a business issue, it is an ethical issue about how we relate to the communities we serve. And for readers, it’s much more than just an issue of agreeing to view ads, knowing that ads allow them to view free content. Libert and Pickard agree, writing that publishers have to “consider the ethics of tracking users and their outsize role in widely reviled annoyances such as increasing page load times, invading privacy, sucking up data on limited plans and imposing distracting animations and sounds on the viewer.”
The what and why of this report should be quite clear: we are leaving massive footprints on the internet and have little knowledge of how it’s used. Ranking Digital Rights has made the full data available for download, including researchers’ comments and responses from the corporations where available. We were pleased to partner with Ranking Digital Rights and Beekeeper Group to develop a set of web tools to communicate and explore the data.
It’s important to remember that the introduction of Hello Barbie is just one part of a new interactive landscape in which nearly everything kids do is recorded and uploaded somewhere. Some parents have balked at such networked omnipresence, refusing to post any photos or otherwise identifying information of their kids online.