05 May 2014

Privacy Week, May 1 - 7

Someone somewhere is always watching our every move but we can't always find out exactly who is doing the watching nor what they are watching for or why they are watching or what they do with the information gathered during the watching. Librarians maintain that information should go both ways or not go at all.  "Choose Privacy Week" is a new initiative that invites people into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age. The campaign gives individuals the resources to think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy. 

I touched briefly on the topic during the inaugural "Digital Preservation" class I taught on May 1st as part of the BDC "Preservation Week" blitz.  If you put private images on your computer, on Facebook, on Family Search, or in the cloud, are the images truly "private?" Do you still "own" the information?  What happens to your digital assets upon your death? Who can access your digital assets?  A family historian needs to think through these issues of digital privacy.  

How do you "Know What's Posted About You Online?" Try Googling yourself.  Did you find anything surprising?
Although "Choose Privacy Week" is still pretty much off the radar of the general public, it should not be. Libraries are uniquely positioned to highlight awareness regarding serious concerns about online privacy because of our strong traditions of intellectual freedom, respect for privacy, digital literacy, and civic engagement. As the Library works on Activity 4.4 "Position the library as a place that brings people together and facilitates civic discussion," of our Extended Strategic Plan don't be surprised if "Choose Privacy Week" gets a higher profile in 2015.

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