All Things Privacy – ALA Annual 2019 Edition

Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat! This week is the American Library Association Annual Conference in DC, and LDH is packed up and ready to talk all things privacy to thousands of library folks from across the country. The Executive Assistant will keep things in order while we exhibit, but she is not letting the other half of LDH go it alone at #alaac19. Who is this new addition to LDH? Come by our booth (#844) at Annual to find out more!

If you are one of the lucky folks who is attending #alaac19, LDH would like to help you have a great conference while keeping some of your privacy intact in the process. Here are some ways to enjoy your conference and protect your privacy at the same time:

At the airport – if you are flying to DC, your airline might be using facial recognition during the boarding process. In most cases, you can opt out. Techcrunch wrote about the process and you can learn more about the opt-out process there.

Connecting to public, hotel, and conference wifi – Use a VPN anytime you are connecting to a public wifi network or other network that is not your home or your work network. Your place of work might already have a VPN available for use for when you are working outside the office; however, keep in mind that work can also see any non-work traffic you might engage in while connected. If you don’t have work VPN or want to have a VPN separate from work, there are several options you can choose from. LDH uses Private Internet Access, which offers good VPN service at a reasonable cost, and works across multiple platforms (Windows, iOS, Android). The one thing to remember, though, is to never use a free VPN service. If the product is “free” the actual cost to use the product is your own personal data.

On the Exhibit Floor – You might notice that the QR code or barcode under your name on your badge. Exhibitors sometimes ask you if they can scan your badge, particularly if you want nice swag! What exactly is in that QR code? When I scanned my badge from Midwinter using an Android barcode scanner app, this is the output: “csi313|1237819|Becky|Yoose|”. My name is there, but also note the two strings of numbers before it. While indecipherable to attendees, those strings could eventually lead to the vendor getting your contact information. If you wouldn’t give your physical business card to a vendor, you might want to decline the offer to have your badge scanned by the same vendor. Better yet, ask the vendor what they do with the information that they get off of your scanned badge.

Outside the conferencetake off your badge. This is for both security and privacy reasons. DC is full of tourists, but they do not need to know your name while you’re walking through the streets to your next meeting!

At the conference – there are several privacy-related events happening at #alaac19! The Office for Intellectual Freedom created a list of programs and meetings of all things privacy-related programming, including sessions on Privacy by Design and minors privacy rights. Between sessions, check out the Glass Room Experience in the exhibit hall at booth #3446! The booth will be featuring the community edition of the original Glass Room Experience. From the organizer of the booth – “This edition was developed as a result of high demand from visitors of larger Glass Rooms in London and New York, who also wanted to set up similar exhibitions in their cities. This smaller, portable version comes in a lightweight and adaptable format that can be set up in a variety of different spaces from libraries and schools to conferences and metro stations.”

Last but not least, stop by booth #844 and say hi to LDH! We will be sharing the booth with Equinox Open Library Initiative. If you want to learn more about how open source technology can help empower your library, the folks over at Equinox OLI would be more than happy to talk to you at the booth.

If you are heading to DC this week, safe travels and we hope to see you at booth #844!