Recent Events

Internet Search Privacy Tips and Tricks


Amy Affelt

Amy Affelt, Director, Database Research Worldwide at Compass Lexecon, began with the basics of search privacy. The issue is “how did we get here?” Just 6 months ago, we could have never imagined the need for privacy safeguards. Some safeguards were recently repealed; here are some of the ramifications.

Regulatory Repeal Ramifications

Notice that ISPs can now sell your browsing history to 3rd parties (but not to individuals). This came to a head when a site, DreamHome, was asked to furnish 1.3 million records to the Department of Justice.

Some people say they don’t need to worry about anything because they aren’t doing anything wrong. But this means an end to privacy. Why should we need to explain what we are doing? What can we do? Make it harder to collect the data. Test your system protection with panopticlick to receive a “uniqueness score” of your browser’s fingerprints.

Here are some basic cloaking tips.

Cloaking Tip 1

Cloaking Tip 2

  • Use  https-everywhere if you are prohibited by your oganization by using https.https
  • Get a VPN.
    • Considerations:VPN Considerations
    • Use the Opera browser.
    • Recognize that NSA maintains a list of VPN purchasersVPN Options

Additional safeguards:

Additional Safeguards

Border/police searches and handovers.

Border and police searches

Last year, the TSP took 6,000 phones. The police must get a search warrant to make you unlock your phone.

Bobbi Newman

Bobbi Newman

Bobbi Newman continued the session and discussed Privacy and Libraries in the 21st Century. She began by defining privacy:

  • The right to be left alone.
  • Claim to determine for individuals to determine when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated.
  • Control, use, and disclosure of personal information.
  • Invasion into protected space, collection of data, use and disclosure of such information.
  • Intellectual:protection when we are generating ideas,

Here is the ALA statement on privacy:

ALA Privacy Statement

ALA Privacy Statement

Are you doing anything to protect the data on your smartphone, fitness device, social media accounts, and phone book listing? When a store clerk asks for your phone number, do you provide it? Do you use a search engine that doesn’t track?Why does this matter?

Minorities and the poor are subject to more unwarranted surveillance and the repercussions of it are more severe. Most privacy requires some level technical savvy (such as Android vs. Apple). Should we be required to have a level of such knowledge to enable privacy? It takes time and money to protect your privacy. Some employers have hired companies to do health and wellness surveys of their employees which was used by insurance companies.

Many people have been victims of identity theft. There is no expiration data on such information. For example,

  • A student was accused of being a terrorist when he was spotted in the library reading a book about terrorism.
  • The “Connecticut Four” case in which four librarians challenged an order to furnish a list of library users under the PATRIOT Act.

People want privacy.

People Want Privacy

There is a need for education and resources.

Need For Education and Resources

Resources include privacy guidelines from ALA, NISO privacy principles, Library Privacy Toolkit for Librarians (LFP project), San Jose Public Library’s Virtual Privacy Lab, the Digital Privacy Pledge. and Protecting Patron Privacy (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, edited by Bobbi Newman and Bonnie Tijerina).

Comments are closed.