Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat!
Have you ever wondered what data OverDrive collects while you’re reading the latest ebook? Or what Kanopy collects when you’re watching a documentary? As library workers, we have some sense as to what vendors are collecting, but we are also patrons – what exactly are vendors collecting about *us*?
GDPR and CCPA both give different sets of users (EU residents and CA consumers, respectively) the right to access the data collected by organizations and businesses; however, some organizations extended that right to all users, regardless of geographic residency. Below are some of the more well-known library vendors who are offering some form of data request process for their users (aka library patrons, including you!):
- Kanopy’s data request appears only to apply to CA consumers: “Under California Civil Code Section 1798.83, if you are a California resident and your business relationship with us is primarily for personal, family or household purposes, you may request certain data regarding our disclosure, if any, of personal information to third parties for the third parties’ direct marketing purposes. To make such a request, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Request for California Privacy Information” in the subject line. You may make such a request up to once per calendar year. If applicable, we will provide to you via email a list of the categories of personal information disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes during the immediately-preceding calendar year, along with the third parties’ names and addresses. Please note that not all personal information sharing is covered by Section 1798.83’s requirements.”
- ExLibris, owned by ProQuest, appears to have a different data request process: “You may request to review, correct or delete the personal information that you have previously provided to us through the Ex Libris Sites. For requests to access, correct or delete your personal information, please send your request along with any details you may have regarding the method by which the information was submitted to email@example.com. Requests to access, change, or delete your information will be addressed within a reasonable timeframe.”
What is surprising is that there are not more library vendors that offer this option, or not extending the option to all users. This might change over time, depending on how the newest data privacy ballot initiative in California goes in November, or if additional regulations are passed in other states or even in the federal government. If more companies provide this right to access for all users, then it’s more likely that this practice will become a standard practice industry-wide. LDH will provide the latest updates around data access options from library vendors when they come along!
Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat!
In case you missed it – last week ALA announced a trio of new guidelines for libraries concerned with patron privacy during the reopening process as well as libraries who use security cameras at their branches:
Guidelines for Reopening Libraries During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Theresa Chmara, J.D. guides libraries with planning reopening procedures and policies, including requirements around wearing masks, health screenings of both patrons and staff, and contact tracing. While these guidelines are not legal advice, these guidelines should inform your discussions with your local legal advisors.
Guidelines on Contact Tracing, Health Checks, and Library Users’ Privacy – This statement from IFC reaffirms the importance of patron privacy in the reopening process, including giving newly published guidelines around contact tracing at the library. The statement also directs libraries to the Protecting Privacy in a Pandemic Resource Guide, which brings together several privacy resources for libraries to incorporate into their reopening processes, as well as the expansion of existing patron services to online.
Video Surveillance in the Library Guidelines – Libraries who use security cameras should review their existing policies around camera placement, recording storage and retention, and law enforcement requests for recordings considering the new guidelines. There are also sections around patrons filming library staff and other patrons which public libraries should review regarding staff and patron privacy and safety.
Take some time to review the above guidelines and discuss how these guidelines might affect your library’s reopening or use of security cameras in the building!
Black Lives Matter.
If your library or archive is thinking about collecting photographs, videos, or other materials from the protests around George Floyd’s death caused by Minneapolis police, what are you doing to protect the privacy of the protesters? Black Lives Matter protestors and organizers, as well as many protesters and organizers in other activist circles, face ongoing harassment due to their involvement. Some have died. Recently Vice reported on a website created by white supremacists to dox interracial couples, illustrating how easy it is to identify and publish personal information with the intent to harm people. This isn’t the first website to do so, and it won’t be the last.
Going back to our question – if your response to the protests this weekend is to archive photos, videos, and other materials that personally identifiable information about living persons, what are you doing to protect the privacy and security of those people? There was a call made this weekend on social media to archive everything into the Internet Archive, but this call ignores the reality that these materials will be used to harass protesters and organizers. Here is what you should be considering:
- Scrubbing metadata and blurring faces of protesters – a recently created tool is available to do this work for you: https://twitter.com/everestpipkin/status/1266936398055170048
- Reading and incorporating the resources at https://library.witness.org/product-tag/protests/ into your processes and workflows
- Working with organizations and groups such as Documenting The Now
A tweet that summarizes some of the risks that you bring onto protestors if you collect protest materials: https://twitter.com/documentnow/status/1266765585024552960
You should also consider if archiving is the most appropriate action to take right now. Dr. Rachel Mattson lists how archives and libraries can do to contribute right now – https://twitter.com/captain_maybe/status/1267182535584419842
Archives, like libraries, are not neutral institutions. The materials archivists collect can put people at risk if the archives do not adopt a duty of care in their work in acquiring and curating their collections. This includes protecting the privacy of any living person included in these materials. Again, if your archive’s response is to archive materials that identify living people at these protests, how are you going to ensure that these materials are not used to harm these people?
Black Lives Matter.