I don’t feel ready to commit yet, since we still have weeks of topics to cover and inspire us, but currently I’m finding some interest in a project based on this discussion about how teens are affected by surveillance and social media. Another idea is something that can tie into our tech literacy classes, as we teach people how to use computers for the first time and work to “Bridge the digital divide,” how are we ensuring that we are empowering them and not simply making them more vulnerable to surveillance and having value extracted from them? That we are creating access more than we are creating consumers?
I’m currently leaning towards a staff training with actionable “beginner” items and steps. I’ve worked a lot in my current role at standards and process development, and I think it would be interesting to create a sort of “how to” guide or process that libraries could follow regardless of size or budget to give them the tools to increase patron and personal privacy, not just the background knowledge. I feel like so many librarians that I talk to would be overwhelmed with information and scared, but would feel unable to take actionable steps to help combat surveillance. If they’re given directives in a clear and concise format, however, that tends to go well.
I’m not sure that makes any sense, it’s still kind of half-baked. If anyone is looking at public libraries or small/rural communities for a project, I’d be happy to jump on board.
I’m curious about does “security mindset” mean to @FSkornia because I am wondering if there could be a next level of curriculum creation that grounds it more within the context of our current conditions with a particular focus towards working class/poor folks, especially those from communities of color. Those are the ones who most likely use our services.
One thing I was thinking about is doing perhaps a train the trainer type of dox defense for frontline activists (as a skill that the library could offer if it wanted or at least folks who have friends who are frontline activists and those who are frontline activists can use it).
The other part is examining the surveillance relationship between oppressor-oppress (Israel-Palestine) and how that has played out here in the US, particular when targeting Indigenous people (NoDAPL) and Black people (Black Lives Matter).
For folks who are interested, here is a webinar on state repression. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtcuCgrDsoE9x7KrcObNSBk3BsqRkXc0yB
Let me know if folks are interested in any of this. Thanks for getting this conversation started.
i just read that security mindset post. … it’s a whole nother level of transparency.
I think my answer is yes! That’s why I’m so intrigued by the idea of a security mindset, because it such a fertile area that can be applied to so many different topics and communities. It would be really great to see it focused on communities of working class and poor folks because there is so much out there that attempts (and succeeds) to take advantage of them. Often when you are struggling to survive around subsistence levels it is very difficult to consider the risks in the services and platforms they need to use. I think of things like predatory payday loans, restrictions and fees on bank accounts because of low balances (charging fees on checking accounts if you have less than $300 in it should be criminal!), the whole bureaucratic infrastructure built around the social safety net services, etc.
I also really love your idea about defense measures for frontline activists. This sort of thing goes way back, most notably the stuff that COINTELPRO did during the 1970s and it’s just gotten more widespread and insidious since then. I’m sure in the next several weeks we’re going to be talking about the range of tools that would be important to teach; things like Signal or TOR for communications and information sharing. Tips on how to choose clothing and equipment to confound physical surveillance measures.
I was reading an interesting article on the recent massive data leak from Nintendo (https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kp7bx/a-massive-leak-of-nintendo-source-code-is-causing-chaos-in-video-games) and noticed how the writer had to often list several identities for the people he was talking about because of the way they present themselves online in their hacking communities. There are lessons to be learned from that about how to position yourself online and in the real world, especially if you are participating in social change and civil disobedience.
Our unemployment system in CT is almost exclusively done online. So when a patron comes in needing help, they need to get an email set up. They always end up with a Gmail account and placed on the surveillance conveyor belt. It’d be great if for the sake of convenience we didn’t just shuffle people into Google.
Oh, don’t get me started on CT’s unemployment system. It is one of the banes of my existence, and I have to puzzle things out every time I sit down with a patron to help them on it (and I’m reasonably savvy when it comes to technology). I think they purposefully make applying for unemployment as obfuscated as possible to reduce the number of people making claims. Add the fact that at one point the website was only available during certain business hours and days (it may still be…).
It would be nice to have a list of alternatives for things like free email. I remember at one point seeing a bunch of library folks tossing around the idea of libraries running their own email servers that the community could create accounts on. But there are always knowledge and technical hurdles to overcome with something like that. Not to mention liability issues, especially as safe harbor provisions for service providers are coming under scrutiny and attack.
I’m still mulling over ideas for a final project, but one interest I have is in obfuscation and how it could be used in privacy protections. It can take a lot of work and time to create “junk” data to mess with our data doubles - so it’s not a realistic tool there. But Tor relays are great obfuscation tools… I am wondering about other tools and ways to deploy this technique…
I love this idea for a project Sam. It would be both super relevant and totally different from what others have come up with in the past. I will think about some other tools and strategies to direct you to.
i was thinking for my final project that i would install Tor on the public computers and do a series of trainings for library staff on what tor is and how to talk to patrons about it. seeing as how we are only doing curbside pickup, it would be a great time to do this.
i like your idea abby and would be interested in using what you come up!
I’m interested in doing some kind of project either for or about teens and privacy. I have a couple ideas, which I’m mulling over and may shift and combine a few times between now and when they’re completed, but the two that feel most concrete:
- A zine titled “The 'Finsta Project” about social media and surveillance capitalism, exploring why teens should care about how big data uses their information, and how to make informed decisions about social media without having to completely divest. This would probably be cooler as a collaborative project by/with teens, but my library is closed and that’s not totally feasible right now. (tbh I came up with the name first and really liked it, then went from there lol. I’m ruminating on some other possibilities than this one, under the same name!)
-Some kind of suite of info resources, one-pagers or small booklets, aimed respectively at teachers, parents, and students(various ages) on navigating privacy concerns in online school settings - when working on the fly, boxed in by constraints out of your control, how do you create online classrooms and learning spaces that are secure, non exploitative, and just? How do you participate in school, while protecting the little agency you have? How do you support your kid(s) and make informed decisions together? There’s a lot to be made sense of as schools scramble to go online, for who knows how long?
@Chloe These ideas are super good!! If you’re looking for a collaborator I’d love to be in a group making a zine for teens about why they should care about their data being collected.
Heya…. I also need to do a little more musing and reading. I am leaning toward something about a lesson or series of lessons, perhaps an assignment. Although, I do like the idea of a training too. I’m thinking whatever I work on, U want it to be flexible. I’m at a community college so I am thinking more of an assignment/ lesson, outreach activity, or workshop. Thanks for all the conversations here, it’s helping think about what I want to do. I am down to collaborate.
Love this idea and can definitely connect you with other librarians who’ve made this happen, as well as folks who’ve struggled to make it happen. I also have some ready made Tor trainings that you can have an adapt as needed.
LOVE the finsta zine idea!! lots of other LFI folks have made zines as their projects, and I especially love it for teens
Thinking about a project related to street level surveillance, I remembered artist/researcher Ingrid Burrington’s field guide to finding the internet on the streets of New York [
http://lifewinning.com/projects/networks-of-new-york/](http://Networks of New York) and thought about maybe a field guide to where different kinds of street surveillance are located in my neighborhood of Cap Hill and what to look for. Thinking of the field guide as video animation.
here is the link to the networks of new york field guide
Camille and I were thinking of working through patron tech scenarios and making a poster or flyer with questions and steps to talk to them about when they ask for help with a tech/privacy related issue. Helping them work through their threat model in a confidential and respectful way, kind of like we discussed during last week’s meeting. Other folks welcome to join too.
One of the reasons I applied to LFP is to be able to confidently present or find justice focused privacy trainers to offer programs at the library. So I love all the talk here about that, and look forward to learning from those training materials and helping if needed.
I was going to suggest producing some bite sized education for a medium like tiktok aimed at gen z but lol considering the news maybe try it with instagram’s new reels instead.