Thoughts on Privacy
March 13, 2017
I’ve decided to share my comments on the issue of privacy this week, as I believe it to be timely and very important. The past week has made me reconsider being an Amazon Echo owner, I will say that much. It’s very interesting to me that “93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important” (Madden & Rainie, 2015). To be connected is to be listened to and tracked. I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but to some extent it’s true. Have you ever been at a restaurant and Google Maps asks you if you can take some photos of, say, the Panera you’re sitting in? It’s just creepy. But we swipe these notifications away like they’re nothing.
Switching gears here: I was also interested in the Pew article that stated that parents use the internet as a punishment tool “65% [h]ave taken away teen’s cellphone or internet privileges as punishment” (Anderson, 2016). Though I think withholding a cellphone or internet could be an effective punishment, what good does it really do? I think it can be detrimental to the cultivation of our hyperlinked…well…anything! What if that teen was acting out due to bullying, or found a subreddit (reference to the sort of “tribes” on reddit.com) that they found a sense of community and support? Taking that away from your child could exacerbate the situation, cause them to distrust you (especially if you intend to snoop through their phone, which it is obvious many parents do, 61% checking their web history at that (Anderson, 2016)). I don’t intend to tell people how to parent or judge people. These are my opinions *darts under table, escaping potentially ensuing mommy war in the comments.*
Now, let’s bring it back to libraries. One of my favorite parts of working in libraries as that we are (at least purported to be, anyways) champions of privacy and intellectual freedom. I have been watching the work of the Library Freedom Project with enthusiasm over the past couple of years, applauding them for their work at the Lebanon Public Library with standing up for and dealing with flack relating to establishing Tor at this library. Though I don’t see this working in my library and likely not any Chicago area library (one can hope) I really admire their efforts, their attempt to educate the community, and deal with federal blow back. I view libraries as a beacon in this crazy world we’re living in as it relates to privacy especially.
Anderson, M. (2016). Parents, teens and digital monitoring.
Madden, M., & Rainie, L. (2015, May 20). Americans’ attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance. Retrieved March 9, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/#