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A year ago today, we joined the world in shock on learning that governments were spying on internet users around the world. Tapping internet service providers’ undersea cables, intentionally and secretly weakening encryption products, surreptitiously collecting everything from call metadata to photos sent over the internet by US citizens — nothing was off limits.
Just as troubling as the revelations themselves is the fact that since last summer, little if anything has changed. Despite a lot of rhetoric, our three branches of government in the United States have not made many concrete steps toward truly protecting citizens from unchecked government surveillance.
Automattic has been a strong supporter of efforts to reform government surveillance. We’ve supported reform legislation in Congress, and participated in the Day We Fight Back, earlier this year. More importantly, we aim to make our own legal processes for securing the information our users entrust to us as transparent and protective as possible.
Be the change you want to see in the world — that’s why we’re joining the many other companies who are participating today in Reset the Net. In the face of intrusive surveillance, we believe that everyone in the tech community needs to stand up and do what they can, starting with their own sites and platforms. For us, that means working to secure the connection between users and our websites. We’ll be serving all *.wordpress.com subdomains only over SSL by the end of the year.
If we’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that encryption, when done correctly, works. If we properly encrypt our sites and devices, we can make mass surveillance much more difficult.
We’re happy to be taking these steps and hope that the coming year brings real reform to end mass surveillance.
Filed under: Community
Today, a broad coalition of interest groups, websites, and people around the world are joining together to fight back against government surveillance. We’re supporting the “Day We Fight Back” on WordPress.com and have created a banner that you can easily add to your WordPress.com blog to get involved, too.
The “Stop NSA Surveillance” banner shows support for this important cause and provides a link to a page of resources to help visitors to contact members of the US Congress to support much needed anti-surveillance legislation. For more information, please visit thedaywefightback.org.
How to add the banner to your site
Here’s how to add the banner to your site in three steps:
- In your WordPress.com dashboard, go to Settings → Protest NSA Surveillance.
- Click on the checkbox labelled Protest Enabled.
- Click on the Save Changes button for the change to take effect.
The banner will remain on your site until midnight on your blog’s time zone. Here’s what it will look like:
Filed under: Community
For some reason last year I didn’t do my annual roundup of Banned Books Week websites. Here is a link to the source of the image above which is from the New Yorker’s article about the JD Salinger-evocative book 60 Years Later, Coming Through the Rye which is illegal to sell in the US. You can find more news articles about that situation at the author’s small Wikipedia page. You can look at past posts on this topic by checking out the bannedbooksweek tag here or here is a list of the annual posts: 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. I skipped 2005 and 2012.
As usual, you get a neat real-time look at what’s going on by following the Twitter hashtag. Do NOT look at the bbw twitter hashtag as I mistakenly did last night. As usual there are two “main” sites the ALA site at ala.org/bbooks and the bannedbooksweek.org site which is really nice looking this year. The BannedBooksWeek Twitter account is still moribund which is a damned shame. The Virtual Read Out doesn’t seem to have any new videos this year… yet?
Please remember if you are a librarian who has a book that is challenged, report it to the ALA so they can keep track of it.
Here is the list of organizations who are co-sponsors. Let’s look at their websites.
PEN American Center – has this post outlining what they’re up to this week and they appear to be extended their activities for a full month and this blog post (some reflections by Nick Burd, an author whose book had been challenged) is a well-written little capsule piece.
The language of the censor is the language of the tyrant, the absolutist, the one with no vision. It is the antithesis of art because it assumes that there is only one perspective, one reality, and that anything that fails to rhyme with it is a sin against nature. But the real sin against nature is to suffocate personal truths and experiences with wobbly doctrine and to disguise it as morally just. Art— particularly literature—exists to show us there are as many worlds as there are people. Each of these worlds come with its own laws. These laws vary from person to person, but if there is one that they have in common it is to share your truth. We owe it to our humanity and our short time among other humans to respect the truths that are shared with us. – Nick Burd
Websites are working and the word is getting out. I was pleased with this year’s collections of content. What I’m concerned about, as per usual, are challenges and censorship that don’t even reach the physical items on the library shelves. What about this Salinger book? Worldcat shows 40 copies of it, a handful of which are in the US, and the reviews of it haven’t been so great anyhow. But the idea that the book wasn’t obtained and removed, it was never obtained in the first place (as we see with so much born-digital content that we can’t even get in lendable format) opens a door to all new ways that libraries can not get books. The old challenges (dirty cowboy? really? do not google that) remain and new ones appear.
Hello, I was away for the summer. It seems that there has been some activity. If you’re here because you heard about my The FBI Has Not Been Here signs, here is a link to the page where I first mentioned them, back in 2005 or so. Back when this idea was getting batted around it was originally because the USA PATRIOT Act was concerning people, the idea that if you even got a National Security Letter not only would it compel you to turn over records, but it also prevented you from telling anyone other than your legal counsel. This sort of sucked and so people fought back. Most notably the people from Library Connection in Connecticut who got the gag order part of the USA PATRIOT Act declared unconstitutional. And you may have read about Brewster Kahle talking in the New Yorker about what it’s like to get a National Security Letter. Brewster is one of the strongest advocate for the right to privacy (and libraries’ right to defend their patrons’ privacy) and even he was sort of freaked out by this. Now that we’re looking into the face of the NSA looking into damned near everything and their heavy-handed tactics to get corporations to comply with them, it’s almost quaint thinking that we were just afraid of the USA PATRIOT Act. You can read more about the idea of “warrant canaries” here. I certainly didn’t think them up, just got a little traction with this one. Oh hey look there is this image over on Wikipedia’s warrant canary article. That’s nice.
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By Christopher Kuner
Tension between different regulatory systems has long existed in certain areas (think of the disagreements between EU and US competition regulators regarding the aborted GE-Honeywell merger in the early 2000s). A similar power struggle is currently underway between different legal regimes regulating the collection, processing, and transfer of personal data (variously referred to in different legal systems as “data protection”, “data privacy”, or “information privacy” law), one that will shape the world in the 21st century.
Data protection law has traditionally been viewed as a dreary subject of interest only to a few specialists. But whether it involves filling out government forms, purchasing items on the web, communicating with friends and relatives online, or checking in for a flight, almost every activity we engage in nowadays involves the processing of personal data. The growing importance of data processing is reflected in the large number of countries (approximately 100) around the world that have enacted data protection laws, and the countries and international organisations (including the European Union, the OECD, and the United States) that are currently in the process of revising them to meet the challenges posed by globalisation and the rapid growth of the Internet.
Much personal data routinely flows across national borders, and the same data processing may result in the application of multiple laws. The ease with which data flows internationally also means that data privacy law has become a point of competition between different legal systems, with each one striving to achieve the seemingly impossible goal of simultaneously protecting the privacy of individuals, striking a balance between privacy and other important values (e.g., public security), and furthering economic growth.
This competition has been most pronounced between the European Union, which has recently asserted that other countries should follow the “gold standard” of its data protection legislation, and the United States, which believes that its system is even better. Such international regulatory spats illustrate that nations too often view the subject largely as a way to score political points, and that they have failed to grasp some basic facts about the processing of personal data:
- Protection of data privacy is not just a transatlantic issue. Data protection laws have been enacted all over the world, including by regional organizations (APEC, ECOWAS, and others) and dozens of nations in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
- It is also not just an online issue. Nearly every economic and social activity nowadays involves the processing of personal data, including the most basic ones. Too often regulatory attention focuses on the online “flavour of the month” (e.g., social networks, search engines, etc.), and fails to recognize that data processing has become embedded in every aspect of society.
- And it is not just an economic issue, but one that can help further important developmental goals as well. For example, the UN Secretary General has begun an initiative called “Global Pulse” involving projects such as the use of data analytics to better understand the global state of various infectious diseases, and using a centralized text messaging system to allow mobile phone users to report on people trapped under buildings following an earthquake, among others. Data protection law is currently not conceived to facilitate the large-scale use of data mining for purposes related to development, public health, and similar goals, but these uses will greatly increase in coming years, and will challenge our assumptions about the purposes and structure of regulation.
Part of the problem is that while data protection and privacy issues have global ramifications, the legal framework for them is still very much a matter of local or, at best, regional regulation. While some regional organizations (in particular the Council of Europe) are attempting to become more global, there are substantial differences in the way the subject is viewed in different countries and legal systems. In contrast to some other areas of the law, there is also a lack of legal instruments and institutions of a global scope covering privacy and data protection.
Legal regulation of data processing often stands in tension with economic pressures that encourage the processing and transfer of personal data, and political pressures that inhibit the development of coordinated and coherent regulation. States are only too happy to adopt legal requirements for the private sector that they are unwilling to comply with themselves (e.g., with regard to data processing for law enforcement purposes), and technology to process personal data advances faster than the law can keep up with.
From being considered a niche area, data protection law has evolved to the point that it is hard to find areas of human endeavour that it does not concern. The way that the struggles over data protection are resolved in the coming years will determine the kind of world we live in, and the kind of Internet we have.
Dr. Christopher Kuner is editor-in-chief of the journal International Data Privacy Law. He is author of European Data Protection Law: Corporate Compliance and Regulation, and the forthcoming book Transborder Data Flow Regulation and Data Privacy Law in which he elaborates some of the topics discussed here. Dr. Kuner is Senior Of Counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Brussels, and an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for European Legal Studies, University of Cambridge.
Combining thoughtful, high level analysis with a practical approach, International Data Privacy Law has a global focus on all aspects of privacy and data protection, including data processing at a company level, international data transfers, civil liberties issues (e.g., government surveillance), technology issues relating to privacy, international security breaches, and conflicts between US privacy rules and European data protection law.
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Image credit: Laptop keyboard with fingerprint enlarged by magnifying glass – computer criminality concept. Image by Jirsak, iStockphoto.
The post The global data privacy power struggle appeared first on OUPblog.
Over the past few weeks there have been several news stories about the ways in which mobile device apps can, and do, infringe on the privacy of users. The news pretty much broke when it was discovered that the social app, Path, was copying user address books without notifying users of that. Since the Path news came to light, people have discovered that that app was, and is, not the only app copying user information without notice.
Read the articles linked above to become familiar with the issues and also take a look at this short slideshow, from Larry Magid of SafeKids.com, about ways to make sure your privacy is protected in the app world.
- Start talking with teens about the apps they use and how they can guarantee that when they use them their privacy is protected. Brainstorm ways that they can check-out how an app does and doesn’t use personal information. Perhaps setup a project in which teens do some research in order to find out what apps have the best privacy track record and which are lacking.
- Become familiar with apps. If you haven’t used apps on a smartphone or tablet make sure you spend some time doing just that. Ask friends, teens, or colleagues if you can take a look on their devices if you don’t have one yourself. The only way to really be informed is to have some first-hand experience. A great way to find out what apps are worth checking out is via the YALSA App of the Week column on this blog.
- Don’t assume that because of these breaches that all apps are bad and people should just stop using them. That’s not true, all apps aren’t bad. And, people aren’t just going to stop using them. Apps provide a great deal of useful tools and information to children, teens, and adults. We all just have to get really smart about what’s going on behind the scenes. In his New York Times article Nick Bilton gets to this point very well when he states, “The argument that if consumers care about their privacy they shouldn’t use these technologies is a cop-out. This technology is now completely woven into every part of society and business. We didn’t tell people who wanted safer cars simply not to drive. We made safer cars.”
Now is the time to gain the skills and
[Kindle image by Tim Spalding, thanks Tim!]
I went to a staff meeting on Friday at the local library where I sometimes work. We did some strategic planning, some walking around the building looking at stuff that could be improved, and some “how to download various digital media format” exercises. We use Overdrive via Listen Up Vermont which gives us access to audiobooks and ebooks in EPUB and Kindle formats. I’m pretty okay at this sort of thing so we clicked around and saw how stuff worked and had a few little glitches but basically stuff was okay. I’ve been following the Amazon book lending story through the blogs the past few weeks and I’ve been skeptical but more curious than anything. I don’t have a Kindle but I’ve seen how popular they are and I was curious how this would all work. Well, as some bloggers have pointed out, it sort of doesn’t. Or, rather, it seems to require compromises to our systems and more importantly to our professional values. I’m hoping these issues can be resolved, but honestly if we can’t lend with some modicum of patron privacy, we shouldn’t be lending.
This is all leading up to an email exchange I had with a reader who was wondering the best way to raise concerns with his librarian about the user experience of borrowing a Kindle book from his library to use with the Kindle app on a non-Kindle device. Apparently, while the process to obtain the book wasn’t too difficult, the process to actually get RID of the book once returned [without a lot of pesky "hey maybe you should BUY this" cajoling] was actually fairly difficult. The default settings are, not surprisingly, strongly urging that the patron purchase (not renewal, not some sort of overdue notification) the book that they have just “returned.” I’ll let the patron speak for himself on this process. His name is Dan Smith and this is reprinted with his express permission.
My first experience at “borrowing a Kindle book from the library” has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It did not feel like borrowing a book from a library. It felt like a salesperson had sold me a book with a “no-risk free home trial” and was pestering me to buy it at the end of the trial period.
I feel that Amazon’s commercial promotion is excessive, and imposes inappropriately on public library patrons. Would you allow distributor’s rep to stand in the hall, grabbing people on their way to the return slot, saying “Stop! Why RETURN it when you can BUY it instantly for just $12.95?”
Yes, some of the irritations can be sidestepped, and as a savvy user I now know how. But Amazon took advantage of my innocence.
FIrst, the book was all marked up! Dotted underlines here and there on almost every page. It was like taking out a library book and finding someone had gone over it with a highlighter! Amazon allow “library” ebooks to be marked and annotated. Instead of cleaning them up for the next patron, it leaves them in place, and encourages you make your own marks for other people to see. I thought this was just some misguided idea about social networking, but it’s more sinister than that.
I turns out that there is a global setting, “Popular Highlights,” which controls whether you see these marks. B
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By Mark Warby
My mum told me the other day that she found all this publicity about privacy, super-injunctions, and Twitter most confusing. So do I, because the way it is reported seems to bear little resemblance to the world I thought I worked in and knew. So in case anybody else out there is befuddled I thought I would have a go at clarifying things by providing a glossary. Here are some of the key terms, and some definitions. In some cases I have offered alternatives, to help understanding.
A bit of cross-referencing is necessary here, so I have used asterisks to mark out terms you will find explained elsewhere in the glossary.
Privacy law glossary
Apply to the court: (1) what a person has to do if they want to obtain an injunction* (2) what any person has a right to do if served with or notified of an injunction* with which they disagree, and want to challenge (3) an expensive and uncertain alternative to Contempt of Court no 2* (4) see Waste of time and money.
Appeal: (1) what any person can seek to do if a court makes an order that affects them with which they disagree (2) see Apply to the Court no 3 (3) see Apply to the Court no 4.
Contempt of court: (1) speech or act which defies an order of the court, or defeats or undermines its purpose (2) see Making a Mockery.*
Court of Appeal: (1) one of the Houses of Parliament (2) Twitter (3) place staffed by Judges* to which you can go to obtain a fair hearing and challenge an injunction you disagree with (4) see Apply to the court nos 3 and 4.
Democracy: system of government using. See Votes.*
Fair hearing: (1) a fundamental human right (2) what people go to a court to get, when asserting their rights (3) reading Twitter, not consulting the people affected, deciding unilaterally what is right or wrong, and announcing it to the world.
Freedom of expression: (1) unequivocally good thing in all possible circumstances, when exercised by the print media or online (2) one fundamental right which may come into conflict with another, namely privacy*, so that a delicate balance has to be struck.
Gagging order: bad thing; order of a Judge that prohibits something being said that ought to be made known.
Hemming: fearless campaigner for the freedom to use parliamentary privilege to name with impunity well-known people who have obtained injunctions* from Judges* to prevent disclosure of information in the public interest* (2) not.
Injunction: (1) court order which prohibits things being said or done which the court considers ought not to happen (2) gagging order* made by a Judge.*
Issuing: (1) what celebrities do with injunctions, apparently (2) the act of starting legal proceedings, preliminary to asking a court to rule on a claim.
Judge: (1) person who makes it up as they go along, treats freedom of speech with contempt (2) fantasist with delusions of omnipotence (see also Unelected*) (3) individual appointed by the state to decide disputes about legal rights after a fair hearing.*
King Canute: see Judge no 2*. See also next section.
Making a mockery: (1) an exercise of freedom of speech* on Twitter or otherwise which involves deliberately disobeying a court order, undermining its effect, and so demonstrating Judges to be King Canute* (2) see Contempt of Court.*
Parliamentary privilege: fundamental right of any MP to do with impunity an act which would be a contempt of court*.
Privacy rights: (1) bad thing; synonym for adulterous
The ACLU has made a useful post talking about the Department of Justice’s released statistics about their surveillance activities. Surveillance is up. Section 215 is sunsetting. Osama is dead. What now?
The government more than quadrupled its use of secret court subpoenas, known as 215 orders, which give the government access to “any tangible thing,” including a wide range of sensitive information such as financial records, medical records, and even library records. In 2010, the FBI made 96 applications, up from just 21 in 2009.
I’ve been reading with interest the news stories lately about Epsilon. For those of you who don’t know Epsilon is a company that does marketing. Many companies give Epsilon customer lists and Epsilon uses that information to, say, email you about the latest Hilton Honors promotions. Except that there was a data breach and Epsilon lost up to 250 million email addresses
The reason I care about this at all is two reasons. One, there is a useful analog with libraries and how they handle their email lists of patrons. Obviously patron data is private and comes under whatever privacy laws a state has and whatever policies the library has. But is a library allowed to market to patrons? Or give these lists to peopl to market on the library’s behalf? This was the concern when the public library in Dixon California emailed patrons to let them know about ongoing library renovation plans and asked them to consider making donations. People who are not pleased with the library renovations, the Dixon Carnegie Library Preservation Society, is arguing that the librarian acted improperly when they gave patron email addresses to a consulting company without patron consent. Now let me just state I pretty well side with the library on this one, but it’s sure to be an increasingly contentious topic as libraries have more and more diffrent kinds of patron data to keep private.
And the second reson is just a cautionary tale. Many people with iphones are aware by now that the phone tracks where you go. I mean it has to in order to be a phone, but it stores this data in unencrypted form on both the phone and the synced compueter, forever. This means that anyone with access to a simple open source tool such as this one can make lovely maps like the one above. Good to know, and good to understand. As libraries move more towards mobile applications and mobile awareness generally, understanding how this sort of data works will be an important part of making sure we know how, when and why to keep it private.
Posted on 8/15/2009
The ten things I hate about our world the way it is today, often interact with each other. There are:
1) Corrupt political systems
2) Corrupt Criminal Justice System
3) Corporate Corruption
7) Abuses of all kinds, people and animals
8) government waste and oppression
9) Political Correctness
Our political leaders are responsible for many ills of our world. They are the ones who are elected to oversee our welbeing, and ironically it is their own welbeing that they end up overseeing. The addiction to power, wealth and control, rots their common sense, and concern for those who look up to them. They get submerged into self concern and greed. They quickly forget the purpose of their authority as soon as they are given the freedom to rule.
Corporate big wigs work together with politicians in schemes that will reap them fortunes at the expense of those they are in charge of overseeing. All this self interest leads into a chain reaction of all the other things. Political power is what steers every facet of society. Nothing can be done without government being involved in some way.
There is no such thing as privacy or freedom anymore. The evils of governments the world over have managed to destroy the world, by allowing corporations to manipulate and pollute at will, for their own benefit. Our social security numbers are used to track our every move. We can not get utilities turned on without giving our social security numbers. We now can not even stay at a hotel, rent a car or make a phone call on a public phone without having a credit or bank card.
All these agencies and companies sell our personal information to each other, If we move to another State and get a new phone number, all these people phone us before we even unpack. We are all being SPIED on, all the time. Our personal information is spread across the computer for the world to find. If a hit man were looking for us, they would have no trouble finding us.
Everyone wants a credit or bank card instead of cash. That way they have access to your bank funds, and they legally commit fraud by taking out more then you allow them to, and they get away with it. The banks are in it with them. If you tell a store, or car rental etc. not to take out more than a certain amount for whatever, because you know that you will bounce checks and be in a mess if they do, they agree to not do it, then they do it anyway.
They invent charges that they did not tell you about, and simply get them out your account. When your checks begin to bounce and you, try to talk to the bank, they only say that “YOU gave the company your account number or bank card, and they have nothing to do with it.” The bank rips you off with high over drawn fees, and the people who demand the cards, take what they want and never get punished for it. We are cohurst into becoming victims, and we can’t do anything about it. But let us steal like that from them, and we go straight to prison for years.
Many employers are now getting in on this band wagon. They require direct deposit in order to pay you your wages. We do not have the freedom for ourselves, to decide if we want to pay cash to avoid all the rip off schemes that are being used, by way of credit and bank cards.
Landlords are also culprits of greed. They charge a non refundable fee to fill our an application to rent an apartment. If ten people fill out the application and they find reason to deny them, they keep all that free money for themselves. They charge between $20.00 to $50.00, and sometimes even more for this rip off game.
Landlords now require tenants to sign a lease that is usually for a year. This is holding the tenant HOSTAGE to the lease, so the landlord can be guaranteed rent money for a year, whether the tenants wants to stay there that long or not. If the tenant moves out they break the lease, and the landlord can garnish their pay check to get the rest of the rent money for the remainder of the lease.
That is not enough greed on the part of the landlord. They also require a large deposit, and the first and last months rent, before the tenant can even move in. If you want your beloved pet to move in with you, they can refuse that you have a pet, or they charge you an outrageous deposit, and an added amount on your rent, to keep a pet. A poor person can not afford all these fees and rip offs.
Landlords have all sorts of loop holes to do as they please. They can make up things to evict you, and it’s your word against the landlords, and the courts always side for the landlord. Once you are evicted, you are placed on a black list so that other landlords can charge you higher rent for being on the list,and slumlords become like vultures who come to the rescue of those on the list, allowing them to move into their deplorable housing as if you are a criminal, and they are giving you a break. Then they charge the same rents as the decent apartments go for.
Landlords keep your deposit, claiming all sorts of damages that were not your fault. The courts also side for landlords if you dare to take them to court to get your deposit back. Judges don’t even want to hear witnesses or look at pictures that you may provide to defend your side. They don’t care. Landlords are Slave master to Tenant Slaves. Then they wonder why former tenants come back to break out windows and destroy the place.
Everyone is trying to ride the gravy train on the backs of those who are just trying to do their best to survive. Deceitfulness and greed has spread like a cancer everywhere. Poverty and homelessness has become epidemic. It has become a dog eat dog world, and the strong survive. The root of all evil has taken over with the “love” of money.
Poverty is the result of those who commit evil. Poverty is created because of GREED. Those who have financial security resent sharing with those who struggle to survive. There is no fairness or justice for the poor. Instead of seeking ways to repair the damage man has done on this earth, the wealthy in politics waste billions to fight useless wars, and explore space. They do not even appreciate the beautiful earth we have right here. They want to go and find another planet that they can destroy, like they are doing to this one. Those are the things I hate about this world.
By: Jessamyn West,
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As per usual I’ve returned from holiday travelling with a lot of cool links to share and the admission that I’m behind on my blog reading — and this is me who is never behind, this is all deeply distressing to me — and I bet you are too. Anyhow, some things I’ve enjoyed reading over the past few days. I’m putting a Computers in Libraries column to bed today and it’s talking about widgets. I like talking about widgets.
- Phone box becomes mini-library – small community in Somerset turns old phone box into a lending library/free box for books.
- Portsmouth (NH) public library is having a documentary showing of DIY Nation + artist get together this weekend which looks like fun and a nifty type of program to boot. Plus I sort of stupidly like that they can link right to the book in their catalog. It’s 2009, how many of us can do that yet?
- One line update/coda to the Des Moines photography situation from the DMPL marketing manager “At this month’s meeting, our board voted to remove the requirement that permission be granted for photos to be taken in our library.” Woo!
- Curious to know what’s going to happen at the Hayward (CA) libraries when they go to a Netflix model for lending [pay up front, then no overdue fees]. Looking forward to seeing the crunched numbers at the end of this.
- In another neat model, ArchivesNext reports on the Amsterdam City Archives’ “you ask we scan” approach to digitization. There are some linked slideshows and further data. Interesting model.
In my post-baby-sleepless-yet-attempting-to-work daze, I've been waiting for a story to move me to post again on Ypulse. I guess I should thank Mark Zuckerberg, and the audaciousness of his statement about "The Age of Privacy" being over for... Read the rest of this post
Two book-related things today that have me all in a dither:
1. Amazon hasn't put the MacMillan titles back yet. There's a book I need for class and I need it next week. None of the local library systems I use carry it. I can't get to an independent until this weekend, when we're supposed to get 17
inches feet of snow, so even if they ARE open, I won't be able to get there. I could get to Barnes and Noble tomorrow night, but they don't have it at the store, so I had to order it from their website. And pay shipping. (I have Amazon Prime. I don't pay for shipping.) Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
2. I live within walking distance of a branch of my local library. Given that I spend all day every day at a different library in a different system, I usually don't browse. I usually just look up books that my work-system doesn't own or has a long wait for, and put them on hold in my home-system. I went to pick up a book after work today (Yes, I went from one library to another. I am that nerdy.) Now, they have all the hold books on shelves near the check out desk so you can just go over and find yours and bring it up to the desk. I know this is a hot new trend in libraries right now but...
I will probably STOP using the Arlington libraries because of this. It is such a HUGE breach of reader's privacy and given that I pretty much ONLY use them for hold books and I just can't agree to this system... bad bad bad. Yes, they shelve the books spine down, so it's harder to see what the books are, but that just makes it easier to see who has a book on hold and it's not that hard to flip through and see who's requesting what.
Personally, I'm not very private in my reading habits (which you know, as I blog about EVERYTHING I read right here) but the principle of the thing has me very shaken up and upset and pissed off.
I'm more annoyed at the Amazon/MacMillan thing because they're private businesses and while they're both being stupid, well, it's business and they can do that.
The library, however, is breaking the ALA's Code of Ethics:
We protect each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
So, I will be writing a letter to the director of the system and seriously rethinking my library use (Because, I do spend all day at another system, so I'm a bit privileged here, I know.)
But here's the thing-- just two years ago, Arlington libraries had a PR flap about this very thing. And, unlike the branch in the article, these books had no covering, the only concession made to privacy was the books being shelved spine down, which may have not had anything to do with privacy at all-- it makes finding your name (and your neighbor's) much easier...
A couple of days ago a news story broke about a suburban Philadelphia school spying on students in their homes using the webcams on school-issued laptops. The story has gotten a lot of play, rightly so, and it looks like the FBI is going to investigate.
There’s no doubt it’s creepy if school officials can spy on students without the students, or the parents, knowing about it. As I’ve been thinking about this story over the past couple of days I’ve been thinking about how so many adults that I talk to are worried about teen privacy. These conversations always focus on making sure teens know how to be safe and smart about their online privacy. But, what do we do when it is the adults who are supposed to be teaching teens privacy skills, that abuse a teen’s privacy?
There’s no doubt it’s creepy if school officials chose to spy on students without letting parents or the teens know about the decision. Yet, if the officials had let the parents know that this was going to happen, would it have been right, even then to go forward with the spying? I’m always talking with teachers and librarians about how we have to show respect for teenagers and that one sign of that respect is trust. What kind of trust can we build with teens if adults in their world find it OK to spy on them, perhaps in their most private moments?
There’s no doubt it’s creepy if school officials chose to spy on students. What if instead of turning on the cameras remotely, parents and school officials actually talked with the teens in the community about what’s going on in their adolescent lives? Is it really so hard to do that? Is it really so scary to have a conversation with a teen (or group of teens)?
Imagine if you were a teen in this PA community and learned that the school issued laptop was possibly being used as a device to secretly watch you. What would you think about the adults in the community? How would you feel about your privacy? Who would you feel comfortable trusting?
Of course, I do have to say, that we don’t know the full story, yet. But, doesn’t it give you pause that school personnel have the capability to spy remotely?
As you think, check-out these articles on the same story:
This week is Choose Privacy Week. To celebrate I wanted to write a post about passwords.
First, how many of you use the same password for every site you log into? Do you have the same user name as well?
I know often times we hear IT and other computer professionals tell us to never use the same password, but in reality we are often over worked, and have more important things to do with our brain cells than memorize a bunch of silly passwords (like memorize a bunch of book titles) Right?
I used to feel the same way until I read a blog post about how easy it is to guess one’s password. Follow the link to see how easy your password is to hack, and then check back here for tips to make your password more secure.One of the simplest tricks I’ve heard it to establish a base password like “password” that you memorize, then add something for each site you visit. For example if you set up a password for Google you can use “passwordg”* or “googlepassword”* Making each password you set up unique, but still memorable. Since most websites require you to use a combination of letters and numbers you might consider including these elements in your password base. *Note Password is just an example and not a very good choice for a password base
Another tip is to use a passcard to create a truly random and secure password. This is ideal for create a password for secure information like your online banking profile, or library’s personal files. You generate a unique grid of random letters and digits on it can print this out to carry in your wallet. Select a pattern to use from the card as your password. This is more secure than just writing down the password, because hackers/snoops would still have about 10,000 password options to choose from the card, and they probably won’t readily know your user name.
If you want to be extremely secure, or are extremely forgetful you can use a password management add-on for your browser. Its recommended that you use a password to protect all your stored passwords, and make the password to the management software separate and unique from one your normally use to prevent it from being easily hacked.
Top Password management software are:
Do you have any tips to share to keep your information secure?