Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Library Group Wants a Deeper Discussion about Privacy

The American Library Association is encouraging people to discuss issues surrounding privacy, the collection of personal data and control over information by labeling this week "Choose Privacy Week." Barbara Jones, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom says people may not be aware that every time they swipe a credit card, grocery points card, or use a pass to go through a toll booth, data is being gathered on their habits and activities. She says that social networks like Facebook are constantly collecting information on users and that the site should do a better job of spelling out its privacy policies. Jones says libraries can serve as a model for privacy disclosure since most libraries delete information on the materials patrons' check-out within a set period of time and only a few people have access to the data. The ALA is encouraging libraries nationwide to foster discussion about privacy issues--the organization's president Camila Alire says "privacy is a fundamental right and a necessary condition for the unique and important work of American libraries--facilitating open access to information for all."

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