Tag Archives: privacy

Librarians Are Dedicated to User Privacy. The Tech They Have to Use Is Not.

“Adobe has made it extremely easy for unwanted eyes to read over the shoulders of library patrons. Earlier this month reports surfaced about how Adobe’s Digital Editions e-book software collects and transmits information about readers in plain text.* That insecure transmission allows the government, corporations, or potential hackers to intercept information about patron reading habits, including book title, author, publisher, subject, description, and every page read. But the Adobe scandal is just the tip of the iceberg. Libraries sign contracts with technology companies to bring services to patrons all the time, and those contracts are not always favorable to library patrons. Whether it’s an agreement with an ISP to provide the library with Internet access, the publisher of a database of scholarly articles and primary source documents, or a children’s educational game vendor, these contracts are both commonplace and a relatively new development.” (via Slate.)

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Adobe responds to ALA on egregious data breach; some action expected by week of Oct. 20

“The American Library Association (ALA) decries confirmed reader data breaches by Adobe and calls for immediate corrective action to encrypt and protect reader information. The plain text transmission of reader data over the Internet that was first reported Oct. 7 presumably stretches back as far as the release of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 4.0 in early September. The ADE e-book reader application is used by thousands of libraries and many tens of thousands of e-book readers around the globe. “People expect and deserve that their reading activities remain private, and libraries closely guard the confidentiality of library users’ records,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “The unencrypted online transmission of library reader data is not only egregious, it sidesteps state laws around the country that protect the privacy of library reading records. Further, this affects more than library users; it is a gross privacy violation for ALL users of Adobe Digital Editions 4.” (via ALA)

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Radical Librarianship: how ninja librarians are ensuring patrons’ electronic privacy

“Librarians in Massachusetts are working to give their patrons a chance to opt-out of pervasive surveillance. Partnering with the ACLU of Massachusetts, area librarians have been teaching and taking workshops on how freedom of speech and the right to privacy are compromised by the surveillance of online and digital communications — and what new privacy-protecting services they can offer patrons to shield them from unwanted spying of their library activity.” (via Boing Boing)

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Arizona bill would expand library privacy law

“A bill advancing in the Arizona Legislature would add protections for ebook readers under the state’s existing library privacy law.A Senate panel is expected to move the bill forward Monday. The House passed the measure in a 57-1 vote in early March.The measure seeks to include digital books under material protected by the state law that prohibits the disclosure of public library records.” (via AP)

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E-Readers Track How We Read, But Is The Data Useful To Authors?

“Reading always seemed to be the most private of acts: just you and your imagination immersed in another world. But now, if you happen to be curled up with an e-reader, you’re not alone. Data is being collected about your reading habits. That information belongs to the companies that sell e-readers, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And they can share — or sell — that information if they like. One official at Barnes & Noble has said sharing that data with publishers might “help authors create even better books.” The data is also, of course, a brilliant marketing tool. Best-selling author Scott Turow says e-readers can collect a lot of information about their owners.”

via NPR

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Who’s Tracking Your Reading Habits? An E-Book Buyer’s Guide to Privacy, 2012 Edition

“The holiday shopping season is upon us, and once again e-book readers promise to be a very popular gift. Last year’s holiday season saw ownership of a dedicated e-reader device spike to nearly 1 in 5 Americans, and that number is poised to go even higher. But if you’re in the market for an e-reader this year, or for e-books to read on one that you already own, you might want to know who’s keeping an eye on your searching, shopping, and reading habits. Unfortunately, unpacking the tracking and data-sharing practices of different e-reader platforms is far from simple. It can require reading through stacked license agreements and privacy policies for devices, software platforms, and e-book stores. That in turn can mean reading thousands of words of legalese before you read the first line of a new book.”

via Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Your E-Book Is Reading You

“It takes the average reader just seven hours to read the final book in Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy on the Kobo e-reader—about 57 pages an hour. Nearly 18,000 Kindle readers have highlighted the same line from the second book in the series: “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them.” And on Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the first thing that most readers do upon finishing the first “Hunger Games” book is to download the next one. In the past, publishers and authors had no way of knowing what happens when a reader sits down with a book. Does the reader quit after three pages, or finish it in a single sitting? Do most readers skip over the introduction, or read it closely, underlining passages and scrawling notes in the margins? Now, e-books are providing a glimpse into the story behind the sales figures, revealing not only how many people buy particular books, but how intensely they read them.

via WSJ

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Calif. Extends Library Privacy Laws to E-Books

PC Mag – “California Governor Jerry Brown this week signed into law a bill that will extend privacy protections currently in place for library records to book purchases, including e-books. The bill, known as the Reader Privacy Act of 2011, will require government agencies to obtain a court order before they access customer records from book stores or online retailers. It will officially become law on January 1.”

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Calif. bill protects customers’ reading records

AP – “Government agencies would have to get a warrant or court order to obtain customers’ reading records from bookstores and online booksellers, under a bill approved by the state Senate. The legislation by Sen. Leland Yee is patterned after similar privacy protections that currently are in place for library records. The bill, SB602, passed the Senate unanimously and without debate Monday. It now goes to the Assembly.”

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On the Web, Children Face Intensive Tracking

WSJ – “A Wall Street Journal investigation into online privacy has found that popular children’s websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than do the topwebsites aimed at adults.”

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