CC.4: Academic and k-12 surveillance

  • What are you seeing in your own library environment or your child’s school?

  • What is awareness of these issues like at your library? In your community?

  • What mitigation/resistance steps could you take? What are already happening in your community?

  • How do these surveillance issues reflect other trends that we’ve discussed or that you’ve seen?

  • What are the overall surveillance trends that you’re paying attention to in this course?

  • What are you thinking about doing in your library/ community in terms of advocacy, mitigation, or resistance?

In my library, we have a lot of badly placed security cameras, which are my chief concern. I’ve been able to convince my YS team to get rid of most of the data tracking that we were doing on teens. We used to take first and last name and email, but I pointed out that since we don’t have a policy of reporting to the police anyway, the information was basically useless beyond our daily first name log that helps us keep track of controllers.

I did weasel my way onto the confidentiality of records policy making committee and I’m very interested to see what the scope of the committee and the policy is going to be. I’d like to see us firm up our practices around security cameras in particular, and to implement a policy of wiping computers nightly and deleting checkout history older than a year. The committee hasn’t met yet, so I’m not sure what the environment is going to be like or what the scope of its influence is going to be.

Keep us posted Grace! We can help with resources and talking points.

I believe I mentioned this before, but prior to working in a library I spent some time as a teacher’s aide in a public school in Kansas City. This was prior to the pandemic, so a lot of the really intense surveillance that’s come out of increased online learning hadn’t been implemented yet. However, all of my students were required to have Chromebooks. I didn’t realize until around March that my partner teacher was able to observe everyone’s computer screen and take control over it via a software on her laptop.

I don’t have a great sense of how much awareness there is in Indianapolis around these issues since I’m less involved in the school system. However, like I spoke to my small group about on Monday, the library does offer proctoring services to folks that need it and I’m hoping that that might mitigate some of the harm of software like Proctorio by offering a human alternative, but I’m not involved deeply with that so I am unsure of how often it’s used.

Related to resistance and advocacy, I’ve been playing around with a lot of ideas. Things are a bit tricky because we have a technology learning team here at Central library that bears the brunt of our digital literacy work; a lot of education might have to go through them and then to patrons. I’m also considering offering one on one privacy meetings (IndyPL is a fan of the one hour specialty consult lol) where I help folks figure out their own threat models and assist them with making changes as needed. As Grace said last week, passive materials can also be super useful!