Choose Privacy Week is May 1–7, 2017.Illustration: Valery Brozhinsky/Adobe Stock

By the Numbers: Privacy

May 1, 2017

1–7 Dates in May that Choose Privacy Week is annually observed. 1939 Year that the American Library Association adopted its Bill of Rights, which affirms a commitment to privacy in its first iteration. 48 Number of US states (plus the District of Columbia) that protect the confidentiality of library users’ records by law. The remaining … Continue reading By the Numbers: Privacy



Sarah Houghton, director of San Rafael (Calif.) Public Library, discusses 21st-century library ethics at the Symposium on the Future of Libraries.

Exploring Our Foundations in Times of Change

January 24, 2017

The day started with a plenary session with education innovators Jeffrey Martín of honorCode and Stephen Harmon of Georgia Tech Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U). Moderators Audrey Church, professor and coordinator of the school librarianship program of Longwood University and president of the American Association of School Librarians, and Ann Campion Riley, associate director … Continue reading Exploring Our Foundations in Times of Change


Elana Zeide

Privacy and School Data

June 28, 2016

The problems of keeping student data private in an increasingly complex world of networked information and online tracking were addressed in a Monday morning session, “Student Privacy: The Big Picture on Big Data,” sponsored by the ALA Office of Government Relations and the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF). The featured speaker was Elana Zeide, a privacy advocate, attorney and research fellow at New York University’s Information Law Institute.


“Baseless Hysteria”?

May 31, 2016

Section 215, which became known as the “library records provision,” not only allowed law enforcement agencies to secretly monitor electronic communications emanating from libraries, it also required librarians to turn over patron information if requested and even imposed a gag order on those forced to comply, thus preventing them from telling anyone. ALA opposition to … Continue reading “Baseless Hysteria”?


Joseph Janes

Forget Me Not

May 31, 2016

A few days ago brought a minor news item describing refinements Google has made to the process to request the removal of links in search results that are “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant,” popularly known as the “right to be forgotten,” in response to a 2014 ruling by the European Court of Justice. Ever … Continue reading Forget Me Not


Dispatches, by Marshall Breeding

Protecting Patron Privacy

May 31, 2016

Secure communication on the web provides two important benefits: identifying the website authoritatively enabling encrypted communications between the user’s browser and the server that provides the resource Encryption algorithms transform the data into a seemingly garbled form that, if intercepted, cannot be deciphered. The use of a secure communication protocol (HTTPS) provides the best approach … Continue reading Protecting Patron Privacy


Champions of Children's Privacy

Champions of Children’s Privacy

May 2, 2016

But in one sense, it’s already happening. In December 2015, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit digital technology rights group, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Google for Education, alleging that the company is surreptitiously collecting data about students as they use their school-owned Chromebooks and education apps—data that they’re using … Continue reading Champions of Children’s Privacy


(From left) James Neal, Abigail Slater, and Alan Inouye

Should There Be a Right to Be Forgotten?

January 11, 2016

The panel included James G. Neal, university librarian emeritus of Columbia University, trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and a member of ALA’s Executive Board; Abigail Slater, vice president, legal and regulatory policy, for the Internet Association; and Tomas Lipinski, dean of the School of Information Studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a member … Continue reading Should There Be a Right to Be Forgotten?


San José (Calif.) Public Library’s privacy toolkit creates a personalized list of links, tips, and tutorials that reflect a user’s online privacy preferences.

California Library Creates Online Privacy Tool

January 4, 2016

The internet doesn’t have to be scary. That’s the message from Erin Berman, innovations manager at San José (Calif.) Public Library (SJPL), and Jon Worona, division manager for technology and innovation at SJPL. American Libraries invited Berman and Worona to discuss the library’s new Virtual Privacy Lab, an interactive site that teaches people about online … Continue reading California Library Creates Online Privacy Tool