Cherry Blossom Break

We’re taking some time to appreciate the cherry blossoms this week.

The Space Needle framed by blossoms on the cherry trees on the side of a road.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/punkjr/416092591/ (CC BY ND 2.0)
Blossoming cherry trees lining the sidewalks on the UW Seattle campus.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianholsclaw/25617194540/ (CC BY ND 2.0
Cherry blossoms partially covering the street signs for Maiden Lane and Madrona Drive in Seattle
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joebehr/8607884604/ (CC BY ND 2.0)

Take some time to appreciate the flower blossoms wherever you are – we’ll be back next week with the latest library privacy news and updates.

In the meantime…

Do you have a library privacy question for us? Email us at newsletter@ldhconsultingservices.com with your question or idea and we’ll feature it in a future newsletter. We also welcome guest writers for the newsletter. If you have an idea for a guest post, let us know for a chance to be featured on the blog. We look forward to your questions and ideas!

Welcome To The Club, Virginia: The Consumer Data Protection Act

A white roadside billboard with the text "Virginia Welcomes You". An illustration of a cardinal sitting on a tree branch with two white flowers at the branches' ends separates the words Virginia and the rest of the billboard message.
Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cgpgrey/4891418085/ (CC-BY 2.0), http://www.cgpgrey.com/

Virginia joined California last week in the data privacy regulation club as the state governor signed the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA) into law on March 2nd, 2021. This law shares some similarities with the CCPA and the upcoming CPRA, but there are just enough differences that will cause some possible confusion for library vendors who fall under the scope of the new law.

What Virginia Libraries Need to Know About CDPA Right Now

Virginia libraries paying attention to what happened in California might have a head start with what to expect in the coming years when the law comes into effect in 2023. If you were hoping that Virginia lawmakers would keep close to CCPA in an attempt to create consistent expectations and requirements for consumer data privacy, you might be out of luck. Nonetheless, there are some similarities: some good, others not so much.

First thing’s first – as was the case in California and CCPA, the vast majority of Virginia libraries do not fall under the scope of CDPA. The law pertains to entities conducting business in the state that meet a threshold of either controlling/processing personal data of at least 100,000 Virginia consumers in a calendar year OR controlling/processing personal data of at least 25,000 Virginia consumers and deriving at least 50% of their revenue from selling personal data. Combined with the exceptions made for government entities, non-profits, and higher education institutions, many libraries most likely are exempt from the CDPA, as well as non-profit library vendors.

CDPA stays close to the GDPR model of data controller (an entity determining the purpose of as well as the ways of processing personal data) and data processor (an entity that processes data on behalf of the controller). This eliminates the confusion that CCPA created by going with a different model (and CPRA added more to the confusion with the introduction of a new contractor role in that model!). Library vendors covered by CDPA could be both controller and processor in that the vendor collects and processes data on their behalf but also collects and processes data on behalf of the libraries and library patrons. Data controllers must include data collection and processing information in a publicly posted privacy notice, including what type of data is collected and shared with third parties.

Beyond scope and updates to vendor privacy notices, what do Virginia libraries need to know about CDPA?

Data rights – The new law grants the rights to access, correct, and delete their personal data with a data controller, as well as the right to request a copy of their personal data from the controller. Unlike CCPA, CDPA seems to not include household data in these rights; therefore, there might be a lesser chance of patrons requesting data that might include other patron data from their household.

Opt-out vs opt-in rights – Virginia consumers have the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal data, processing their personal data for targeted marketing, and using their personal data for profiling. This goes beyond the initial sale opt-out of CCPA. Even with the addition of “sharing” to the opt-out in CPRA, there might be confusion with vendors trying to accommodate different types of opt-out between CA and VA consumers.

Here’s where more confusion might set in – CDPA requires consumers to opt-inbefore their sensitive data is processed. Sensitive data in CDPA include race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, mental and physical health, immigration status, biometric data, and precise geolocation data. On top of all this, sensitive data also includes any data collected from children under 13 years of age. CCPA requires affirmative opt-in of collecting personal data from 13- to 16-year-olds, so both laws are coming at collecting and processing minors’ data in very different ways.

Barring clarifications and amendments to either state’s regulations, expect some confusion from patrons when vendors attempt to comply with CDPA and the California data privacy laws.

A Heads Up to Libraries Outside of Virginia and California

While it took a while for another state outside of California to pass a data privacy law, the reality is that Virginia might be the first of a rapid succession of states to pass their own data privacy laws. At the time of this post, there are at least 13 states with active data privacy bills. Many of these bills share some similarities with CCPA/CPRA, but some have more in common with GDPR. The US currently has no federal data privacy law, and as time progresses, it might be that any successful federal data privacy regulation will not preempt stricter state laws. What we are looking at is a possible repeat of what we have with US data breach notification laws – 50+ different approaches, all just different enough to require their own processes. We’ll keep you updated on the latest regulations as they make their way through the legislative process, but it’s starting to look like 2021 might be a very busy year for data privacy regulation.

Related CDPA Resources and Commentary

LastPass and Clubhouse and Virginia, Oh My!

A grey tabby cat curled up and sleeping between newspaper sheets.
It’s hard to get started on a Monday morning… image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyawan/2325855567/ (CC BY 2.0)

A lot happened in the privacy world last week! Let’s go over a couple of news items that affect libraries and library patrons alike.

LastPass Free Tier Woes

The popular password manager LastPass announced changes to their free tier accounts last week that could leave many libraries and library patrons scrambling for an alternative. Starting March 16th, LastPass will require free account users to choose where to use LastPass: mobile or computer. Free account users will also lose access to email support to troubleshoot any problems with the password manager.  For many free tier account users, being forced to choose to have their primary password manager only installed on one platform severely limits the usefulness and protection of their chosen password manager.

If you have a LastPass free tier account and don’t want these restrictions, your options are limited:

  • If you have room in your budget and want to stay with LastPass, you can upgrade to a paid account. This option not only avoids migrating your passwords to another manager and instead unlocks additional features, such as encrypted file storage. While we’re used to having “free” accounts, it might be time to make peace with the fact that it’s time to start paying for password managers.
  • You can migrate to another password manager. There are several choices in the marketplace; however, not many have free tier accounts, which means you might end up paying for a password manager anyway. Bitwarden, an open-source password manager, does have a free tier account that allows for syncing between multiple devices if you need a free account. KeePassXP is another free option for the more technically-inclined who can self-host their password manager.

You can read more about the basics of password managers in our Obligatory Password Manager post from April 2020.

Clubhouse Is Not Your Library’s New Social Media App

So… Clubhouse, that new shiny app that everyone’s talking about. You’re curious about it, aren’t you? You’re wondering if you can add it to the family of social media accounts for your library when you get an invite to join.

Let us stop you right there.

In addition to being exclusive to iOS, being inaccessible, and being a free-for-all for harassment, Clubhouse’s privacy practices are almost non-existent. Literally – the privacy policy did disappear for a while! Nonetheless, the privacy policy is up, and it’s one of the more invasive privacy policies that should make you pause before using the product for any library program, service, or process. We’ve rounded up several articles that describe these invasive data privacy practices in detail:

Some folks will say that other social media companies engage in some of the same practices. However, the overall poor quality and construction of the privacy policy combined with privacy practices that violate several privacy laws in the US and the EU,  the best way to protect patron privacy while using Clubhouse at your library is to not use Clubhouse.

Virginia Getting a New Data Privacy Law?

Virginia libraries! You might have heard about a new data privacy bill that currently sits on the governor’s desk at the time of this writing (it might be signed by the time this post is published!). What is the library tl;dr of the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act?

  • The bill provides similar data rights as California’s two new privacy regulations, CCPA and CPRA, including rights for consumers to request access and deletion of personal data, as well as the right to opt-out of businesses selling their data.
  • The bill’s scope is also similar to CCPA’s and CPRA’s scopes, targeting for-profit businesses doing business in the state who meet certain thresholds, such as controlling or processing data from 100,000 consumers. Non-profits and higher education institutions are exempt.

Once this bill is signed into law, library vendors who do business in the state and meet the scope thresholds will need to comply with the new law. Library vendors who already comply with CCPA have a head start, but libraries might find themselves with vendors who have to play catchup. It might be time to start reviewing contracts and vendor privacy policies as well as the Act to determine what data rights your patrons have and how they can exercise those rights with those vendors.

LDH in The News

LDH is proud to announce that our founder, Becky Yoose, will give the Keynote Address at the Evergreen International Online Conference on May 25th, 2021! This annual conference draws Evergreen users, developers, advocates, vendors, and others interested in the Evergreen ILS or open-source software community from around the library world and beyond. This year’s conference is online and registration is now open! If you want to join in on the presentation fun, the call for proposals is open until March. We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Upcoming Library Privacy Trainings

A grey and white tabby cat laying down on top of a binder of handwritten notes sitting on a table.
The cat wishes to discuss your professional development plans for 2021. Image source – https://www.flickr.com/photos/donabelandewen/3543134442/ (CC BY 2.0)

It’s already the second month of 2021 – have you had some time to figure out your 2021 professional development goals? Here are a couple of privacy training opportunities for you or to pass along to your colleagues! 

Library Data Privacy Fundamentals (February 16 – March 15, 2021) – This month-long course (taught by Becky Yoose of LDH) will go through the foundations of library data privacy for library workers who are new to the library world or wish to strengthen their core understanding of library data privacy. We’ll cover the basics of the data lifecycle, privacy policies and procedures, and vendor privacy management. The course will also explore the “what” and “how” in communicating privacy to both patrons and library colleagues, including administrators.

Library Freedom Project Crash Courses – The Library Freedom Project will be offering a pair of free two-month courses during the summer and fall of 2021. Their first Crash Course, Systems & Policies (May -June 2021), will dive into privacy and data governance policies, privacy audits, vendor privacy management, and working with IT. The second Crash Course, Programs & Training (September-October 2021) will cover how to teach privacy to patrons and library staff alike, including creating privacy programs. These courses are free, but there is an application process. Applications for both courses will open in March 2021.

PLP Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Training for LibrariesHello to all the Pacific Library Partnership (PLP) member libraries reading right now! You might have attended one of the trainings last year as part of the Data Privacy Best Practices for Libraries project. If you want to learn more about how to train your library in data privacy and security, you’re in luck – thanks to continued funding through LSTA, we are happy to announce our second year of the project and our Train-the-Trainer series!This year we are offering two month-long training series on Data Privacy (offered in March and April 2021) taught by Becky Yoose of LDH and Cybersecurity (offered in April 2021) taught by Blake Carver of Lyrasis.

Don’t fret if the course dates don’t work for you – we will keep you posted throughout the year of additional library privacy-related professional development. Stay tuned!

Privacy at ALA Midwinter – 2021 Recap

Logo for the 2021 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits.

Patron privacy had several moments in the spotlight at last week’s ALA Midwinter Conference. If you missed the conference or the news updates, no worries! Here are the highlights to help you catch up.

A big moment for privacy resolutions

ALA Council passed two major privacy resolutions during ALA Midwinter, moving the organization and the profession to make a more deliberate stance against surveilling library patrons through facial recognition software and behavioral data tracking. You can read the full text of the original resolutions at the end of the Intellectual Freedom Committee Midwinter Report, but here are the actions called for in each resolution:

Resolution in Opposition to Facial Recognition Software in Libraries

  1. opposes the use of facial recognition software in libraries of all types on the grounds that its implementation breaches users’ and library workers’ privacy and user confidentiality, thereby having a chilling effect on the use of library resources;
  2. recommends that libraries, partners, and affiliate organizations engage in activities to educate staff, users, trustees, administrators, community organizations, and legislators about facial recognition technologies, their potential for bias and error, and the accompanying threat to individual privacy;
  3. strongly urges libraries, partners, and affiliate organizations that use facial recognition software to immediately cease doing so based on its demonstrated potential for bias and harm and the lack of research demonstrating any safe and effective use;
  4. encourages legislators to adopt legislation that will place a moratorium on facial recognition software in libraries; and
  5. directs the ALA Executive Director to transmit this resolution to Congress. [This clause was removed by amendment before the final vote in Council]

Resolution on the Misuse of Behavioral Data Surveillance in Libraries

  1. stands firmly against behavioral data surveillance of library use and users;
  2. urges libraries and vendors to never exchange user data for financial discounts, payments, or incentives;
  3. calls on libraries and vendors to apply the strictest privacy settings by default, without any manual input from the end-user;
  4. urges libraries, vendors, and institutions to not implement behavioral data surveillance or use that data to deny services;
  5. calls on libraries to employ contract language that does not allow for vendors to implement behavioral data surveillance or use that data to deny access to services;
  6. calls on libraries to oversee vendor compliance with contractual obligations;
  7. calls on library workers to advocate for and educate themselves about library users’ privacy and confidentiality rights; and
  8. strongly urges libraries to act as information fiduciaries, assuring that in every circumstance the library user’s information is protected from misuse and unauthorized disclosure, and ensuring that the library itself does not misuse or exploit the library user’s information.

[Disclosure – LDH participated in the Behavioral Data Surveillance Resolution working group]

Each resolution is a strong indictment against surveillance technology and practices, but the resolutions will have limited impact if no further action is taken by the organization or its members. While ALA and its vast array of committees start updating and creating policies, standards, and guidelines to assist libraries in enacting these resolutions, individual libraries can use these resolutions to guide decision-making processes around these technologies on the local level. Library workers can use these resolutions to start conversations about how their libraries should protect patrons against these specific surveillance technologies and practices.

Dystopian future, or dystopian present?

The Top Tech Trends session explored the dystopian aspects of technologies including deepfakes, surveillance practices normalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the connection between prison libraries and biometric technologies. The recorded session is available to Midwinter registrants, but if you do not have access to the on-demand video of the session, the American Libraries article on the session summarizes each aspect and the impact it can have on patron privacy and the ability for libraries to serve patrons. Take a moment to read the summary or watch the session and ask yourself – Is your library on its way toward a dystopian tech future, or has it already arrived? What can you do to protect patrons against this privacy dystopia at the library?

Holiday Privacy Reads and Videos

A one eyed black cat with cartoon antlers sitting and looking up.

The Executive Assistant wishes all of our subscribers and readers a happy holiday season!

We will be back at the start of the new year; in the meantime, here are some videos and long reads to keep you company as we go on our holiday break:

Have a safe and healthy rest of 2020!

Just Published – Data Privacy Best Practices Toolkit for Libraries

Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat!

Today we’re happy to announce the publication of the Data Privacy Best Practices Toolkit for Libraries. This toolkit is part of the Data Privacy Best Practices Training for Libraries project, an LSTA-funded collaborative project between the Pacific Library Partnership and LDH focusing on teaching libraries the basics of data privacy. This introduction into data privacy in libraries serves as a guide for both administration and front-line workers, providing practical advice and knowledge in protecting patron data privacy.

The cover page for Data Privacy Best Practices Toolkit for Libraries: A Guide for Managing and Protecting Patron Data.

What does the toolkit cover? The topics range from the data lifecycle and managing vendor relationships to creating policies and procedures to protect patron privacy. The toolkit covers specific privacy concerns in the library, including law enforcement requests, surveillance, and data analytics. We also get to meet Mel and Rafaël, two library patrons who have unique privacy issues that libraries need to consider when thinking about patron privacy.  At the end of the toolkit is an extensive resource section with library privacy scholarship, professional standards, and regulations for further reading.

This toolkit is part of a larger group of resources, including templates and examples libraries can use to develop contract addendums, privacy policies and procedures, and data inventories and privacy risk assessments. In short, there are a lot of resources that are freely available for you to use in your library! Please let us know if you have any questions about the project resources.

Finally, stay tuned – the project is going into its second year, focusing on “train the trainer” workshops for both data privacy and cybersecurity. We’ll keep you updated as more materials are published!

News and Resource Roundup – Michigan Privacy Law Update, Privacy Literacy Toolkit, and Testing Your Infosec+Digital Literacy Knowledge

Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat! This week we bring you an important state legislative update, a resource guide, and three quizzes to start your week.

Michigan library patron data law amendment update

Last December LDH reported on SB 0611, an amendment that would considerably weaken Michigan’s library data privacy laws. The bill allows for libraries to release patron data to law enforcement without a court order:

A library may disclose library records without a court order or the written consent described in subsection (2) under any of the following circumstances:

(a) Upon the request of a law enforcement officer who is investigating criminal activity alleged to have occurred at the library or if the library requests the assistance of a law enforcement officer regarding criminal activity alleged to have occurred at the library, the library may disclose to the law enforcement officer any library record pertinent to the alleged criminal activity. The library director and any other person designated by the library board or commission is authorized to determine whether to disclose library records subject to this subdivision. The library is not required to release library records under this subdivision and may require the law enforcement officer to obtain written consent or an order of the court as required in subsection (2)

After almost a year of inactivity, the bill is now progressing through the state legislature. If you are a Michigan library and concerned about this bill, please contact your state representative and senator about your concerns.

Privacy literacy clearinghouse

If you are searching for resources or examples of privacy literacy instruction after reading our last post, you’re in luck! Digital Shred is a collection of teaching resources and case studies for anyone wanting to incorporate privacy literacy into their instruction work, from information literacy sessions to dedicated privacy workshops. Created and curated by Sarah Hartman-Caverly and Alexandria Chisholm, the authors of the article featured in the last TotH post, Digital Shred also provides another way to keep current on ongoing privacy and surveillance news and issues. Explore the site, and don’t forget to check out the teaching resources and materials for the privacy workshop series created by the authors!

Quiz time

The school year is in full swing, and students are now facing their first round of quizzes and tests. We want to share the pain joy of test-taking by highlighting three quizzes to test your information security – as well as literacy! – knowledge and skills:

  • Spot the Phish – This quiz tests how well you can spot a phishing email in the Gmail email service. While the focus is only on one email platform, the lessons here can apply to any email service!
  • Spot the Deepfake – Deepfakes are images or videos that have been altered to create a realistic image or recording of someone’s likeness doing or saying things that, in reality, did not happen. AI, machine learning, and other developments in technology have made it so that some deepfakes are almost indistinguishable from unaltered media. This quiz will test your observational skills along with your critical thinking by asking you which videos are deepfakes and which ones are the real thing.
  • Spot the Troll – our last quiz focuses on identifying which social media accounts are real, and which ones are fake. It’s not as easy as you’d think…

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

Welcome to this week’s Tip of the Hat!

We’ve been busy the last couple of weeks with website and newsletter changes, and now with the dust mostly settled from these changes, we’d like to give you an update about these changes.

Newsletter changes

LDH has been sending newsletters to your inbox for almost a year and a half. While it’s a convenient way to receive the latest privacy updates, searching and linking to these posts were less than convenient. To make access to our privacy updates easier for our subscribers and to the general public, we are proud to launch our Tip of the Hat blog!

What does this mean for newsletter subscribers? You will still receive the latest posts in your inbox. The greatest change is the ease of searching and accessing older posts. The majority of the newsletter archive have now been migrated to the blog, where you can search the archive in multiple ways: free text search, tags, and categories. Each post also has a shorter, permanent URL for easier sharing with your colleagues. We hope that this new blog will give you easier access to all the privacy news you can use!

Website changes

In addition to the blog, LDH has updated our website, including:

  • Services – updated list of services LDH provides for clients and examples of previous client work
  • About – updated list of library privacy work in the field, as well as adding a personnel entry for our Assistant to the Executive Assistant

We’re always looking for ways to improve the website, including content offerings. What would you like to find on the LDH website? Let us know by sending an email to newsletter@ldhconsultingservices.com and we’ll take it from there.

New ALA Guidelines and Zoom Update

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!

Zoom Update

Zoom reported that they will not provide end-to-end encryption for free-tier users so Zoom can comply with law enforcement. Now that you know how Zoom will respond to law enforcement requests, does their stance line up with your library’s law enforcement request policy, as well as your patron privacy policy? If not, how will your library adjust your use of Zoom for patron services? One option is to not use Zoom, but as we covered in previous newsletters, Zoom is arguably one of the user-friendly video conferencing software in the market. Nonetheless, there are alternatives out there that do a better job protecting privacy, including Jitsi. If you must use Zoom for patron services, check out the Zoom Security Recommendations, Settings List, and Resources document from LDH’s Remote Work presentation in April to help you secure your Zoom calls.