Or perhaps it is better to ask if it was ever a thing to begin with. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an effective tool for gathering and delivering information. It is estimated that by the year 2020, 25 billion devices will be connected to the IoT (Smith, 2015). This is bound to have an effect on an individual’s privacy, which is gradually being surrendered unwittingly by consumers without their realization that data is being monitored and collected, or how that data is being used.
How does this pertain to libraries? The technology exists to use patron data, collected in real-time, to make customized recommendations. While this information can be used to save staff time and improve patron service, there are ethical considerations that libraries will need to address. Patron confidentiality is highly prized in libraries, and the public must be reassured that any personal information gathered by the library will not be sold or used by others.
Groopman, J. (2015). Consumer perceptions of privacy in the Internet of Things. Retrieved from http://go.pardot.com/l/69102/2015-07-12/pxzlm.
Meola, A. (2016). How the Internet of Things will effect security & privacy. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/internet-of-things-security-privacy-2016-8?IR=T.
Smith, M.S. (2015). Protecting privacy in an IoT-connected world. Information Management Journal, 49(6), 36-39.