Online Privacy

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. 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 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.

The Privacy Toolbox: 100 Guides and Resources for Keeping Your Personal Information Safe

Today’s online culture of banking, blogging, social networking and shopping makes it easier than ever for those with nefarious intentions to steal your personal information. Social Security numbers, credit cards and online passwords are all at risk if you don’t keep your personal information secure both online and off. While there is no way to make identity theft a non-issue, there are a number of things that you can do to help ensure that your data is as secure as it possibly can be. Here are 100 places to start researching how to keep your information away from prying eyes.

Gossip web site on college campuses

This is an interesting article on what is basically a gossip site geared toward college students. It's also kinda of scary at whats being posted on there and the owners response from requests by his alma mater. I am impressed with the actions of the students in taking a stand.

Google Health is coming

Google Health is coming soon. Phil Bradley posts this screenshot of the page. Kinda of creepy that Google (sorry, the all knowing one) is moving in this direction. It's still about making information accessible , as outlined in this post, but I'm not sure I'd want Google to be the one doing this.

Anonymity and the Netflix Dataset

Very intersting post by Bruce Schneier on anonymous data.

Like everything else in security, anonymity systems shouldn't be fielded before being subjected to adversarial attacks. We all know that it's folly to implement a cryptographic system before it's rigorously attacked; why should we expect anonymity systems to be any different? And, like everything else in security, anonymity is a trade-off. There are benefits, and there are corresponding risks.


Amazon Kindle - Will Your Library Buy it for Patrons?

You know in a month some library will publish how their Kindle program is a great success, and all you other libraries suck because you don't have one. So the libraries that purchase and loan to patrons will do what with their privacy policies? Libraries delete patron borrowing records when books are returned and borrowing records are private and often protected by State statutes. And the Kindle libraries will turn those privacy policies over to Amazon. Why don't you just burn down your libraries right now because "freedom to read" and "access to all" mean nothing. If the federal government wanted this kind of access to patron reading habits, we would fight all the way to the Supreme Court, but if a public company wants the same access, we say, "wow. that's really convenient." We need to draw the line somewhere: if you buy this for your library, you suck.

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