Online Privacy

Agency Skeptical of Internet Privacy Policies

Agency Skeptical of Internet Privacy Policies The Federal Trade Commission had some sharp words for Internet companies Thursday, saying that they are not explaining to their users clearly enough what information they collect about them and how they use it for advertising. For now, the commission is sticking to its view that the Internet industry can voluntarily regulate its own privacy practices.

Hiding My Candy: Give Me The Option To Share My Reading

Hiding My Candy: Give Me The Option To Share My Reading. The Free Range Librarian:

I expect librarians to protect my privacy by going to bat for me when the government or industry over-intrudes, not by designing systems that make it impossible to have an online presence in their systems. I want companies and organizations that gather this data to use it in ways that improve my experiences — making my life more efficient, fun, and interesting — and yes, they can use it to improve their experiences, as well.

Information...or...Nosiness?

Verizon Wireless has fired an undisclosed number of employees who couldn’t resist the chance to peek into Barack Obama’s cellphone records, CNN reports.

It was an old, flip-top phone, not his famous BlackBerry, and the account had been inactive for months. No text messages or voicemail contents could have been accessed. The employees were satisfying “idle curiosity,” a source told CNN, and the employees were not authorized to access customer records.

Microsoft adds privacy tools to IE8

Microsoft Corp. today spelled out new privacy tools in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) that some have dubbed "porn mode" in a nod to the most obvious use of a browser privacy mode.

A privacy advocate applauded the move, calling it a "great step forward," while rival browser builder Mozilla Corp. said it is working to add similar features to a future Firefox.

The Eternal Value of Privacy

Bruce Schneier:

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Privacy Concerns with Facebook Applications

The Wikinomics blog has a post about potential privacy concerns that result from using Facebook applications:

"...many people do not realize that by adding these applications, they’re giving the applications (and therefore the application’s developer(s)) access to their personal information — irrespective of any privacy settings that a user may choose."

Anti-terror Threat to Librarian Role Now Seen in UK

The U.K.'s The Bookseller reports that "Police forces are requesting information on the library borrowing records of individuals under police surveillance.

The requests are understood to centre on areas with a high Muslim population. John Pateman, head of libraries in Lincolnshire, criticised the development, saying it went against library ethics and could damage community cohesion. “It concerns me. Public libraries are one of the last public spaces where people don’t have to justify themselves,” he said.

Warwickshire head of li­braries Ayub Khan said that librarians “right across the country” had seen instances where the police have asked for library records—“not just books, but also access to records of the internet sites individuals have visited”. Another librarian confirmed direct experience of such a police request.

Librarians’ concerns come after controversy in the US, where surveillance in libraries became a major public issue following the passing of the 2001 US Patriot Act. "

What a librarian can teach you about privacy

Over On Computer World Mark Hall Writes: Let's face it: When it comes to keeping data secure, there's plenty that IT can learn from librarians. Just as ALA members ensure that their patrons' reading habits remain strictly private by establishing privacy audits, so, too, can CIOs audit their systems to ensure that customer and employee data is protected, says Caldwell-Stone. Privacy audits keep customer and employee content under wraps and can protect companies from embarrassing revelations. Librarians have been trained to consider privacy ramifications surrounding access to content. They guard those rights vigorously and are a great example for CIOs designing secure systems. Just ask them. Quietly, of course.

Bill Would Outlaw Targeted Web Ads

Gary Price pointed the way to This One on a recently drafted bill in NY that would require Web advertising companies, such as AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to get a Web surfer's permission before tracking Web movements and displaying ads based on those movements.

WorldCat.org and User Privacy?

While browsing blogs during the NCAA Tourney today, I came across a reference to a book that I thought would be good for my library (academic business school), so I hopped over to WorldCat.org after not seeing it in our online catalog.

I started to register and save the page, but saw this in the abbreviated Terms of Service dialog:

A. You grant to OCLC unlimited and unrestricted use of all data submitted by you to this site.

That's pretty sweeping. But surely, they won't sell my email to marketers, right. I mean, this is OCLC, yes -- founded by librarians, for librarians -- zealous defenders of personal privacy?

I searched the full TOS for references to the uses of gathered data and user privacy -- no explicit prohibition of sharing. I also searched the full "Privacy Policy" for anything that might indicate that my email was not for sale -- nothing there either.

Now I'm willing to admit that my focus on the legalese may not be the best today due to March Madness; but its a little troubling to me to read "A." above and then find nothing to convince me that my email won't be re-sold.

This may also be of more concern if your library, like mine, seems to be in a headlong rush to buy WorldCat Local.

Did I miss something in the policies? Is this FUD? More eyes on the policies would be appreciated.

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