July 2002

Digital privacy: A curmudgeon’s guide

David Holtzman has written A Nice Look at being a \”Data Curmudgeon\”, one who feels it\’s important to stop personal information flowing into the \”Bytegeist\” of the burgeoning Internet.

He says there are five strategies that people seem to employ to tackle the personal data privacy problem.

Why filtering laws just won’t work

CNET has This One by Ralph G. Neas, who says In the wake of a federal court\’s unanimous decision declaring the Children\’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) unconstitutional, supporters of the mandatory Internet filtering law have not only appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court but have also escalated their rhetoric in ways that mislead parents and the public about the issues at stake. He says That dodges the critical issue of how the filtering law would have worked in practice.

OMB to GPO: Drop Dead

Luis Acosta writes \”The Washington post has this story about how the Bush Administration\’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell Daniels wants to \”decentralize\” U.S. government printing by having agencies separately contract for printing, allegedly for \”efficiency\” purposes. This could destroy the Federal Depository Library Program administered by GPO and increase the proliferation of fugitive documents. ALA and other organizations are fighting this, but the Federal Executive Branch is a tough opponent. \”

Library Closings Put on Hold

When officials in Cincinnati decided to close 5 library branches, residents made their opinions known, loud and clear. The city has decided to postpone the closure until they can collect input from the public, and how they can resolve their money issues without affecting services. Read More.

Retired Policeman/Special Deputy Observed Suspect’s Internet Use

A retired police officer who is also a volunteer deputy is responsible for helping to nab a possible terror suspect at a Florida library. \”As he walked in the door, Myers saw 45-year-old, London native Nigel Berkeley Gates sitting at one of the computers with the words \”Baghdad Battery\” on the screen. As Myers\’ wife wandered around the library, the special deputy secretly watched Gates and his Internet activities. Myers watched as Gates allegedly surfed the Internet about Baghdad, Iraq, President George W. Bush, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and agricultural information. But when Gates scrolled on a site about \”concealing metal objects,\” Myers had seen enough.\” Suspicious chemicals were found in the man\’s backpack. Read More.

Better late than never?

Stories like this always amuse me. Better late than never is on a copy of \”Miss Abby Fitch-Martin\”, returned to the Gere Public Library, 13,668 days past its due date. In this case, the due-date card stamped Feb. 17, 1965, was still in the back pocket. But the card listing the borrower has long disappeared. Someone owes them $3,400.