Privacy & The Hyperlinked Library – Reflection

Apparently I need to go back to a remedial data entry class…  I entered all my assignments from last week (for all my classes!) into my calendar as being due this week.  Sooooo, I’m playing a little bit of catch up here.


Despite coming to the party late, this week’s ‘choose your own adventure’ style was pretty fun!  I initially was planning to go down the rabbit hole of hyperlinked public libraries, but my brain kept coming back to issues of privacy — specifically I kept thinking of the incident with US customs and border patrol agents detaining a US citizen returning to the states until he told them the password to unlock his phone.


If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can read the details here, but the gist is that US officials detained a US citizen and pressured to give them access to his phone.  The phone was issued by NASA and contained sensitive material that wasn’t supposed to be shared.  Long story short, US officials were given the PIN and the phone was out of the owners possession for 30 minutes.


Quincy Larson discussions the implications of this (apparently legal!) action in his article titled ‘I’ll never bring my phone on an international flight again.  Neither should you.’  He mentioned that the US is not the only country that does this — and that there is software our there that can ‘suck down’ all your photos/contacts/passwords/etc in a matter of minutes.  So even if the phone is only away from you for a short while, if it’s unlocked, the data is not secure.


In the article included this week about privacy and information sharing , Rainie and Duggan make the point that many Americans are balancing convenience and risk when determining whether they are willing to disclose personal information.  Many people disable location services on their smart phones, or prevent apps from accessing the phone camera in order to increase privacy and lessen the risk of information leaks.


But how many people think about potentially leaving their smart phones are home when they travel out of the country?
I mean, personally, I have tons of information on my phone…  location-tagged photos, data from my apple watch, my library account information, passwords for all my social media, medial prescription information, saved email passwords, banking information, and probably a lot of things I don’t even realize…  but I really can’t imagine traveling, especially traveling internationally without it.


It’s definitely something to think about when balancing that risk, but it feels like a reality that I’m not exactly ready for.


2 thoughts on “Privacy & The Hyperlinked Library – Reflection

  1. I have been thinking about the issue you describe with my smartphone – it has MY LIFE in it! I have been watching news related to this with interest. Some folks are advocating for wiping one’s phone before travel!

  2. Great blog! I try to be extremely careful about what I put on my smartphone, but even the little bit I have in there is probably too much. Privacy issues are just getting crazier and crazier these days and it is extremely hard to balance it all out. Thanks for the post and getting me thinking!

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