We live in an age when knowledge is power. New technologies give us unprecedented access to information. They also facilitate surveillance, with the power to collect and mine personal information.
People enjoy the convenience of having information at their fingertips. But most people don’t realize the trade off. For example, citizens turn a blind eye to the fact that online searches create traceable records that make them vulnerable to questioning by the FBI, or that government agencies can track their phone calls, airline travel, online purchases, and more. In this environment, convenience and fear trump the fundamental right of privacy. And privacy has become so amorphous an idea that many citizens have resigned themselves to an inevitable erosion of rights.
In an information age, it’s vital to protect the impulse to be curious, read, and learn.
ALA's Choose Privacy Week initiative gives libraries the tools they need to educate and engage users, and gives citizens the resources to think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy. Libraries and schools around the country are observing Choose Privacy Week 2015 with a variety of activities. Here’s a sampling of what libraries are doing:
The Multnomah Public Library will observe Choose Privacy Week on Saturday, May 2 with “Is Privacy an Option?” a talk led by Mark Alfino, professor of philosophy at Gonzaga University. Alfino will discuss issues around privacy, transparency and why individual privacy choices matter. Multnomah will also be offering patrons an opportunity to attend classes to learn about “Privacy and Safety Online” on May 9.University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee’s Center for Information Policy Research will welcome Washington University law school Professor Neil Richards for a talk about his new book, Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in a Digital Age in celebration of Choose Privacy Week.
The Douglas County Public Library in Georgia will offer teens a class on protecting their online privacy on May 7, while the Upper Arlington Public Library will be offering three different classes on privacy, including a May 2 class on “Simple to Advanced Privacy DIY,” a May 6 class,”Security First,” on password privacy, and a May 7 class, “Privacy on Your Mobile Device“.
The Greene County Branch of the Jefferson-Madison Public Library published an article in their local paper promoting Choose Privacy Week that included a bibliography of several books about privacy and government surveillance. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville library marked Choose Privacy Week with a blog post while the Jefferson College library created a Choose Privacy Week libguide. Portland Community College also created an online resource for Choose Privacy Week for their users.
Content originally published on Choose Privacy Week blog.