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Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)
While a nonprofit group (Save Our Libraries) dedicated to keeping the Santa Clarita libraries within the County Library system continues to subpoena former and present City officials in an ongoing lawsuit, the attorney assigned to the matter, Donald Ricketts, maintains that unwarranted access to the public’s information is the primary issue.
“What the lawsuit says is you can’t put the library into the hands of a private company,” Ricketts said, “because to do so you would have to give them information which is confidential and which they need to run the library.”
After City Council voted 4-1 on August 24 to secede from the County of Los Angeles Public Library – and inevitably award a contract to Library Systems and Services, LLC to run the City’s three branches – 12 people sent a letter to City Council alleging a Brown Act violation had occurred.
Essentially, the Brown Act prevents California governmental bodies from holding secret workshops and study sessions where decisions concerning the public could be made without its attendance.
Question: Is there a way to insure that a private corporation wouldn't take advantage? And should we assume that they would take advantage of acquiring confidential information?
KHTS Hometown Station reports.
A Revised Taxonomy of Social Networking Data: Lately Bruce Schneier has been reading about user security and privacy -- control, really -- on social networking sites. The issues are hard and the solutions harder, but he's seeing a lot of confusion in even forming the questions. Social networking sites deal with several different types of user data, and it's essential to separate them.
THis is his taxonomy of social networking data, which he first presented at the Internet Governance Forum meeting last November, and again -- revised -- at an OECD workshop on the role of Internet intermediaries in June.
ALA's Intellectual Freedom Round Table has a blog post suggesting that thinking about online privacy on the 'human scale' (eg, other people seeing our information) is too limited.
So by thinking about privacy violations on a human scale, we convince ourselves that even though the capability exists to track us, our privacy is only potentially violated. For our privacy to actually be violated, someone (Google, Facebook, or the FBI) would have to specifically notice us.
Instead, unexpected correlations like the Star Trek/pedophilia connection may turn innocuous online activity into something that triggers a red flag.
I have met too many librarians who take a myopic approach to privacy. That is, privacy is so important to our members that we don’t even let them decide what information to keep or share. We just wipe all our records after some time so they don’t get caught up in the Patriot Act web. What’s worse, we feel that by creating an environment that protects privacy (by eliminating choice) we are protecting the members, when in fact the information they would expose to us is so inconsequential compared to their other activities it almost doesn’t matter.
Instantly online-17 golden rules for mobile social networks
Instantly online-17 golden rules to combat online risks and for safer surfing mobile social networks The EU ‘cyber security’ Agency - ENISA (the European Network and Information Security Agency) today presents a new report on accessing social networks over mobile phones, ‘Online as soon as it happens“. The report points out the risks and threats of mobile social networking services, e.g. identity theft, corporate data leakage and reputation risks of mobile social networks. The report also gives 17 ‘golden rules’ on how to combat these threats.
6 Ways We Gave Up Our Privacy: Privacy has long been seen as a basic, sacred right. But in the Web 2.0 world, where the average user is addicted to Google apps, GPS devices, their BlackBerry or iPhone, and such social networking sites as Facebook and Twitter, that right is slowly and willingly being chipped away. In fact, some security experts believe it's gone already.
Adding to this sobering reality is that public and private entities have a growing array of tools to track our movements, habits and choices. RFID tags are on more of the items we take for granted. Those discount cards you use at the grocery store offer companies an excellent snapshot of the choices you make. And in the post 9-11 world, the government has greatly expanded its power to spy on you with such laws as The Patriot Act.
The Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has put out a campaign designed to raise awareness of the privacy implications of Facebook's developer platform. It's focusing specifically on the popular "quiz" applications, like "Which Cocktail Best Suits Your Personality?" and "Which Wes Anderson Movie Character Are You?" These are largely one-time-use apps that many a Facebook user clicks on and tries out with little concern. CNET reports.
According to the ACLU chapter, "millions of people on Facebook who use third-party applications on the site, including the popular quizzes, do not realize the extent to which developers of quizzes and other applications have access to personal information. Facebook's default privacy settings allow nearly unfettered access to a user's profile information, including religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, photos, events, notes, wall posts, and groups." For the promotion, it's put together a quiz about how much you know about Facebook-based quizzes.
Side note: Creating a Facebook quiz app to draw attention to the pratfalls of Facebook quiz apps is very meta.
Even for a place where personal information is under siege, the case of Brandy Combs is unusual.
University of Florida police allege Combs stole a university librarian’s personal information to fraudulently obtain more than $31,000 in student loans and took a student’s information to get a false student identification. He was arrested on May 20 on charges of fraud and passing false checks.
While the details of the case were unusual, having a breach of private information at UF was not. The university experienced more than 130 confirmed privacy breaches in 2008, compromising the information of about 358,000 individuals, according to the UF Privacy Office.
UF officials said they’re taking steps to improve security as new regulations increase reporting requirements and fines for breaches. But they say the nature of a university means keeping large amounts of information that is sought by hackers and others.
“Every university, because it’s a university, is a prime target,” said Chuck Frazier, UF’s interim chief information officer. “You can be attacked from anyplace and every place.” The Gainesville Sun.