If the Intelligence Authorization Act (H.R. 2596) becomes law, the FBI would no longer need a court order for surveilling e-mail; rather, it would only need to obtain a national security letter.
Posts Tagged ‘patron privacy’
In the near future, a man who has an overdue book will walk into a library. A librarian behind a desk will get an alert on her mobile phone, tablet, or computer screen. After waiting a moment for him to approach the counter or place the book in a drop, she follows him to the stacks when he doesn’t. “Excuse me, Mr. Smith?” she says. “Our system shows you have a book overdue. Did you happen to bring it with you today?”
This post provides a short list of resources for public libraries to consider when dealing with privacy policies and cases.
The confidentiality of patron records is a long-standing issue, particularly since the Patriot Act spurred concerns about patrons’ reading histories, who has access to these records, and under what circumstances the records might be disclosed to authorities. These questions are still being explored, as very few cases on the exact issue of library patron records and privacy have been brought before the courts.
It’s been a little over two and a half years since Edward Snowden’s revelations of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American’s online and phone communications and records. Have American opinions of privacy been affected? And how has it shaped online behavior? Since the June 2013 Snowden leaks, the Pew Research Center began an in-depth study on how Americans view privacy and sharing personal information. Pew’s recently published report The State of Privacy in America reveals surprising results—and some interesting opportunities for public libraries to get involved in privacy and surveillance discussions.
The pendulum, it swings. Eight years ago, my charge as a technology librarian was to herd the cats — to introduce new technology and ways of serving the digital patron to an organization that was largely skeptical of change. Cut to now, and I’m … still herding cats. Only, this time, it’s the folks at all levels of the organization who want to incorporate tech into every service they can think of. Sunrise, sunset.
Does that mean we’ve had a complete polar shift in the way technology operates in libraries? Yes, but also no. Maybe we’ll even throw a “maybe” in there for good measure. The pendulum will keep swinging, meaning we’ve got to be ready for shifts in either direction. Sound confusing? Of course it is. There’s a tremendous tension between the wish to provide stability and the urge to forge new ground. In our quest to provide quality service and access to all, it’s no wonder we feel pulled in all directions at once.