Tag Archives: Choose Privacy Week

The Privacy Week Wrap Up

The Wrap-Up

Monday saw the conclusion of the American Library Association’s Choose Privacy Week, and this is the first year that the Calarco Library was involved with Choose Privacy Week. We created a LibGuide, Glog and these blog entries as a means to inform the Hopkins community. In addition to these collected sources of information, Mrs. Dubois also created a survey to help us learn what Hopkins students and faculty understand (or misunderstand) about online privacy.

Of survey respondents, 38.5% were faculty members and 61.5% were students, with the largest percentage being 7th and 9th graders (23.1% each). 73.1% of respondents said they have a social networking account. The examples displayed for this question were Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. It would be interesting to find out how respondents would define and describe social networking. If an agreed upon definition, rather than examples, was included in the survey, would more respondents have answered yes?

Regarding how often respondents visit their respective social networking accounts, 36% answered Very often (daily). However, 24% answered Hardly ever and represented the second largest group. Why do people sign up for social networking accounts and then decide not to regularly incorporate the services into their routines? About half (45.8%) of respondents state that they spend the majority of time looking at what other people have posted. Do people sign up for Facebook, Twitter, etc. primarily to create a presence online, or to keep track of other people?

We incorporated a few T/F questions into the survey, one being, “Setting my profile to private keeps the information I post on my social networking page completely safe because only my friends can view it.” Although 78.3% answered False (woohoo!), that leaves 21.7% of respondents who are confused about privacy and security settings. Does this matter if these are the same individuals who hardly utilize their accounts? In addition, are ALL respondents aware of privacy complexities such as third-party applications, location based services, targeted advertising and more? Individuals may be “using” their social networking accounts more often than they think; just because you do not update your profile picture or tweet everyday does not necessarily mean you rarely use your account.

Another T/F question asked, “You always have control of all pictures of yourself posted online, even ones you do not post.” A large percentage (87.5%) of participants answered False, which indicates that most respondents are at least aware of the need to check and possible change privacy settings related to photos and tagging.

The goal of Choose Privacy Week is not to convince people to delete their Facebook accounts and blogs, or to make people feel they must read pages of “Terms and Conditions” before signing up with a service. The goal is to raise awareness of the risks and responsibilities that are entwined with the advancements made in web-based technologies, and to inform the community of the library’s mission to provide information and uphold the values of privacy.

photo credit:  gregverdino via flickr cc

I would like to leave you with one last video related to privacy. John Palfry and Urs Gasser published Born Digital in 2010, and also piloted the Digital Natives project, intended to understand and support youth growing up in a digital age. Project participants created videos based on individual chapters of Born Digital, including this one that explains the concept of Digital Dossier

We hope our Choose Privacy Week observance encouraged you to take a closer look at your digital dossier. Do you feel more in control of your web-based identity? Comments, questions and suggestions for improvements are always welcome. Please comment on the blog or send an e-mail to jbarrows@hopkins.edu.

Choose Privacy Week: The Explanation

ALA Choose Privacy Week

This is the first in a series of posts designed to inform YOU (yes, once again, you) about Choose Privacy Week and what it is.

Let’s start with the basics:

Q: What is Choose Privacy Week?

A: “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.”

That is the long answer. The ALA (American Library Association) started promoting Choose Privacy Week as an opportunity to engage individuals and groups in conversations about privacy – what it is, what it means in a digital age, who is affected, and how.

Q: Why libraries?

A: “Libraries feel a professional responsibility to protect the right to search for information free from surveillance. Privacy has long been the cornerstone of library services in America”

That really is true. Some might not think of librarians as advocates and champions of privacy, but this week you will learn why privacy is a central value of librarians and libraries. From specific anecdotes to philosophies widely embraced by librarians across the country, I can guarantee that there is a long (very long) historical record backing up this claim.

Remember: libraries fight daily to keep some of the most widely contested books on their shelves (from The Catcher in the Rye to Harry Potter to The Hunger Games). If librarians are willing to fight for your freedom to read banned books, our reputation indicates a willingness to fight for other individual rights.

Q: Why do I care?

A: The answer to this question is concurrently simple and convoluted.

Simple: Your privacy is at stake, and it is your job to learn how to protect your privacy. If you do not, the chances of people learning information about you (facts that you would not want the majority of people to know, ever) increases dramatically.

Convoluted: You should not only want to learn about privacy, it is your responsibility to learn more about this digital world. You are a future leader of a world that networks and makes connections through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.  You have relatives that probably remember the first televised Presidential debates, a landmark event. In 2008, Barack Obama made history mobilizing supporters via web-based grassroots campaigning through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more.The way the world interacts has changed dramatically. With that change comes greater opportunities (like mobilizing grassroots campaigns) and greater risks – loss of privacy is a major risk.

Every single part of your official life – your birth, address, schooling, achievements, failures, finances, communications, purchase history – are documented online. The Library of Congress is archiving the world’s tweets – the LOC is documenting public thoughts some individuals didn’t realize were so public. Privacy is still a tangible reality, but it is important to ensure that right through awareness and education about policies and trends putting privacy in danger.

Don't let anyone erase your privacy

Alan Cleaver, “Privacy” April 17, 2012 via Flickr   

Stay tuned for more blog entries throughout the next two weeks. We will be highlighting themes related to privacy, such as Facebook privacy settings, CISPA, the role of libraries, and more. More information can be found on the Calarco Library Choose Privacy Week LibGuide.

Lastly, keep an eye out for the Library’s Choose Privacy Week survey!