Monday, January 30, 2012

Internet Privacy? You've Got to Be Kidding!

Okay, it may be to late to "celebrate"Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28), but it's not too late raise a little awareness about data privacy. You may have thought that the battle was lost. That "They" are going to know what ails you, what interests you, what actors you love and politicians you hate, your hobbies, your fantasies, your favorite foods, your bad habits, buying habits, work habits, best friends, travel plans, money problems, love problems, kid problems, your questions about God, about sex and how you feel about your mother, your shoe size, waist size and size of your intellect, every interaction with the law, and with your keyboard, every credit card transaction and phone call, every swipe of a bar code or zap of a QR code, and every book you read.** You may have thought the battle was lost, but lo! there's Frodo and Winston Smith and Sojourner Truth, swords in hands, convictions intact, and nothing left to lose. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the American Civil Liberties Union are several of the many organizations leading the fight to reclaim our personal information in the digital marketplace. Data Privacy Day has its own website concentrating mostly on internet security and safety (after all, Google[!!] is one of its corporate sponsors). They offer tips and resources for individuals, classes and companies.
**Libraries have long been stalwart defenders of book-borrowing privacy. Libraries do not retain the borrowing record of a book after it has been returned; nor do we keep a history of what books patrons have borrowed. The records of e-book borrowing, however, is in the hands of the companies (Amazon, Overdrive) that contract with the Minuteman Library Network to supply those e-books.

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