Deborah Caldwell-Stone | April 16, 2013
In an era of “Big Data,” someone is tracking your every move. Whether it’s your location, your phone calls, your Facebook posts, your purchases or the websites you visit, your daily activities are monitored, recorded, collected and stored. But all too often, you can’t tell by whom.
Information should go both ways or not at all. Everyone should have the right to know who’s collecting their information and choose how their private data is used.
During Choose Privacy Week, May 1 – 7, 2013, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) invites everyone to visit their local library to find out about the importance of individual privacy rights and understand how to protect those rights when businesses and the government alike are collecting and using their personal data.
“People who understand how personal data is generated, collected, stored and used are better equipped to take control of their personal data and demand accountability from the agencies and corporations that store and use their information,” said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. “As institutions that traditionally defend and protect individual privacy, libraries are uniquely equipped to help individuals understand precisely what personal data is being collected about them and how businesses, institutions and government agencies use that data to monitor and shape their daily activities.”
This year’s Choose Privacy Week observance will feature a week-long online forum that will include an introduction from Barbara Jones and guest commentaries by academics, librarians and civil liberties experts that discuss current threats to personal privacy and how each threat impacts personal freedoms and civil liberties. The commentaries will be featured on the newly redesigned website at www.chooseprivacyweek.org, the online hub for Choose Privacy Week activities.
The social media hashtag for Choose Privacy Week is #chooseprivacy.
Scheduled guest commentators include Khaliah Barnes of the Electronic Privacy Information Center; Shaun Dakin, Privacy Camp; Mitra Ebadolahi, the ACLU National Security Project; Rachel Levinson-Waldman, NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice; Deborah Peel, MD, Patient Privacy Rights; Chip Pitts, Stanford Law School; Lew Maltby, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations; and J. Douglas Archer, librarian at the University of Notre Dame and chair of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee.
Now in its fourth year, Choose Privacy Week is a national public awareness campaign that seeks to deepen public awareness about personal privacy rights and the need to insure those rights in an era of pervasive surveillance. Through programming, online education and special events, libraries will offer individuals opportunities to learn, think critically and make more informed choices about their privacy. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week to help libraries work with their communities in navigating these complicated but vital issues. Privacy has long been a cornerstone of library services in America and a right that librarians defend every day.