ellie <3 libraries

sooooo much!

ALA 2008 – Privacy: Is It Time for a Revolution? July 10, 2008

Filed under: ALA 2008,Conferences — ellie @ 6:59 pm

This was one of those wonderful conference moments where I was debating between a number of events and a friend said, forget all of those, come to this one it’s going to be awesome and isn’t getting nearly enough attention.

This panel addressed the questions: Does privacy still matter to information seekers? Do they care and if they don’t, should they?

Speakers included Dan Roth from Wired magazine, Beth Givens from Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and Cory Doctorow from BoingBoing. Also on hand were bloggers Jenny Levine and Jessamyn West.

Dan began saying that no one is asking about privacy, there’s no incentive for businesses. Consumers are conflicted. He mentioned AskEraser. He thinks there will be an arms race between these companies that offer free things based on advertising by collecting more and more detailed info about you.

Phorm is an ad company in the UK. They serve up personalized ads. It’s happening in US too – company = Charter.

It all looks sort of hopeless, that Americans don’t care.

Think about the environment. Now everyone thinks of it and companies can use it as an advertising hook. (vs. AskEraser is not a successful advertising hook.)

Beth talked about privacy pie – informational privacy and constitutional privacy, the lines are blurred. Privacy is the claim of individuals to determine when/how – informational self determination (German phrase). The fair credit reporting act grants right of access. Throwing up your hands is not a constructive way to deal. Their site has opt out instructions.

Cory described BoingBoing as techno triumphalist. We’re not just talking about tech, but also policy and laws. One kind of law is code – software code. Architecture is politics. When we build these systems politics grows out of it.

Do we need to care about our patron’s personal information when they’re so ready to give it up on those social sites?

Well they’re deciding when and where they give it up.

Private is not the same as secret – your parents did something private that’s not a secret or you wouldn’t be here.

That tracks to society.

Why do we enter the Skinner box? The discount for disclosure is actually a premium on privacy – aimed at the people who have the least choice about what they’re going to buy. It’s a mistake to say consumers don’t care about privacy, but businesses have manipulated the playing field.

Analogy that if car manufacturers decided to cut costs by eliminating seatbelts, windshields and brakes it wouldn’t be stopped by users, but by regulators since businesses are then shipping something that’s a danger to users.

Cory was definitely an excellent speaker.

Anti DRM because it allows tracking and reporting back to the mothership.

Making haystacks bigger does not make it easier to find needles. Filling the field with so much radar chaff that you can’t find the real threats. Cameras only allow you to solve things after, don’t prevent.

By our choice to adopt or eschew these technologies will determine whether our decedents will curse or praise us.

Question – What is at stake here?

[Beth] We’ll lose our privacy.

[Dan] What happens when we develop into a nation of niches? As we move away from a society with one mass culture. Having all this private information out there will just speed it up.

[Cory] Personal information is like uranium. Raw uranium is not dangerous, you can buy it on Amazon, they’ll mail it to you, it’s totally legal. Once you turn it into plutonium, there is no amount small enough not to kill you and it lasts forever. The internet will never unlearn what Paris Hilton’s genitals look like. CEO’s posting to usenet in the 90’s about the khole at the rave last night. All of that personal disclosure will never go away.

There are bankruptcy sales selling off old servers with info still on it. So you’re not just loading the gun and handing it to people you trust today, but to all of their successors.

[Beth] Hirers look at your social networking sites.

[Jessamyn] These databases exist. At what point do we have to say the horse is out of the barn?

[Cory] Takes exception to calling it taking it back the clock – it’s going forward. pmog.com We can build technologies that teach people the value of privacy.

When he gets direct mail he writes deceased on it.

[Cory] We can establish best practices – privacy defaults. Could make enormous changes across the board.

Question – What can we do as librarians?

[Cory] Has a friend who built a hackerbot that went around and showed people what passwords they had just transmitted. Having something that shows what they just transmitted. RFID over the entry. Something when they log off that spits out what they just showed.

Question – How do we balance? e.g. A patron wants a list of everything they checked out.

Answer – Demand from vendors that they build zero knowledge systems. Something that allows patrons access to their info but denies librarians, staff, government, etc.

The best way to avoid a data breach is to not have the data.

Safety is always in relation to something. Safe from terrorists or safe from government? America was built on staying safe from government.

A lot to be said for just pointing out what’s going on.

tor – free and open source – anonymizer

Take the survey at privacyrevolution.org

They will continue updating at twitter/privacyala

Also blogged by David Lee King, Bluebrarian, and Loose Cannon Librarian

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One Response to “ALA 2008 – Privacy: Is It Time for a Revolution?”

  1. [...] <3 libraries has detailed write-ups of many of the panels that she went to, including one called Privacy: Is It Time for a Revolution?. The panelists addressed the questions: Does privacy still matter to information seekers? Do they [...]


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