LFI.2 Week 3 discussion thread

I like the analogy of smoke-free workplaces! I was living in NYC when their ban came into effect, and I thought it was going to be impossible to change. Bars and smoking were just a fact. And then one day, they weren’t. We simply weren’t able to visualize a better world until we saw it in action.

I’ll also chime in about the ALA confusion. After 7 years in library world, I’m just starting to figure out my regional association (NYLA.) I just re-joined ALA this year for the conference, and feel like I understand about 5% of what’s going on there.

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I watched the ACLU video with our pass week speaker Kade. The video that dealt with CCTV in libraries. We do have one where I work. There are only two branches that have the CCTV out of 16. Ours had been down for a long time and last week we finally got it up and going again. I am the only person in the branch that has access. We use it only if we have problems. When we needed it (we had a flasher) it was not working. Which is good because even though all the library staff are suppose to be trained we have some go getters who may do things like give the video to police before we can catch them.


I am a long time ALA member. I have been on a few committees and chaired a few. There is ALA and then there are the divisions. ALA depends on the divisions to give input into the positions they take. The Washington Office does the lobbying, research and other issues we take stands on in DC. They do it with input from the members.

ALA has a privacy committee. Here is the link. I think it is a part of the Intellectual Freedom Committee.

ALA does participate in Privacy Day each year. I am going to see if they have any information or have taken a stand on Facial Recognition.

I like your idea, Michele, about creating student-centric privacy workshops. I work in a small university in a rural community in Colorado. For me, there is an opportunity to work with students and faculty at the university as well as working locally with the public library and other regional associations. After Kade Crockford’s discussion I realized that I really need to make sure that I have a clear understanding of our state privacy laws. Beginning this search I found that a professor at the University of Colorado’s Colorado Springs campus secretly photographed people on campus to enhance facial recognition technology and those data sets were online until April, so apparently there is a lot of work to do in Colorado. One of the things that I am considering as we move through the institute is how to take all of this vast information about privacy issues and break it down in ways that are informative yet manageable to tackle in workshops and also to wrap one’s brain around. Presenting these topics in a way that empowers people without making them feel overwhelmed is a basic librarian problem I know, but one that I think is crucial for privacy related advocacy.

I asked ALA Washington Office about facial recognition. That is where they do legislation issues. Carrie says their office in Washington had not dealt with it as of yet but she thought OIF(Office of Intellectual Freedom) probably had. How do you get ALA to look at such issues one way is to bring to COL (Committee on Legislation) which is a committee of ALA Council. Or go through the unit that usually deals with it and that is OIF.
I will dig some more and see if I can bring up in some of my committee meetings.


When I look at the data detox you can almost teach the public an entire on each one.

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To get information about facial recognition and other biometric technologies into our communities, we have to connect these technologies to every community member’s life. How does facial recognition and other biometric technologies affect our lives as a XYZ person and our community, schools, healthcare, job possibilities? We have to directly speak to how these technologies affect the lives of each community member, our individual freedoms and liberties, and the community at large. We should use every tool the community already has along with its art and cultural expressions to speak about community control over police surveillance. As librarians, we are resources to our community members, we should strive to create opportunities in which our community members can educate themselves and take steps to protect themselves in both big and practical ways and become advocates for community control over the police.

As librarians we have some influence in our community, we should seek opportunities to speak on these issues with community stakeholders, local elected officials, our professional associations and apply gentle pressure for action. We should also create opportunities for these member with clout to come together with members at large.

LFI needs to help ALA understand what’s the cost if it doesn’t take a stand against facial recognition. We need to lead at a local level and use our community members as a resource to demonstrate what’s at stake. In our own work, we need to become models with action plans and tools that we know work in our local community and can be scaled to others.


Hi @patball – let me know what you find out!

Totally agree- libraries need to get out in front of this, especially public libraries. As this tech proliferates it’s inevitable that facial recognition appliances are going to end up in our public libraries along with other public buildings. Also, your point about describing bio-metric surveillance as a daily, ubiquitous threat reminds of a comment I read in one of the articles about SF’s banning of facial recognition software; something along the lines of describing people subjected to this type of surveillance being in a perpetual police line-up. Putting it that way may seem facile or like fear-mongering but it is also correct.



Thanks Pat! Let us know how these convos go and if you end up using some of the language from Kade Crockford’s bill that I shared above. You can mention to anyone that you bring it up to that we can get the ACLU to support ALA in these efforts. In fact the ACLU would be THRILLED.

Totally agree with this whole approach. Looking forward to seeing each group’s ideas about how to do this.

Sometimes a little fear can make the point really well. This is a disturbing visual, and people can connect to it immediately, and basically NO ONE WANTS THIS. I think a few pithy lines like this can go a long way to helping people think “wow, I never thought of it like that”.

I love the suggestion to include corporate use facial recognition and how to fight back and/or learn about strategies to protect oneself. I’d be interested in learning more about potential regulations and how companies use facial recognition software. EFF seems to be active in the fight against biometrics.


let’s make sure to ask about these things during Friday’s lecture!

I just spoke with someone who’s running a summer Arabic language academy for teens and looking further into it found that it’s funded by the NSA. ugh

I’m late to the party here but I keep thinking about how to rally ALA and I keep thinking of how we can be raising awareness within our own library communities: applying to speak at our state conferences, bringing up the topics on our state level list-servs and setting up privacy local committees within our own systems and cooperatives. One of the biggest barriers is the awareness level. Most people know what facial recognition is but many haven’t been exposed to the full scale of the implications of insidious technologies like this.


can you IMAGINE if we gave some of the data points that Varoon just brought up? how could anyone justify the use of this technology if they knew about all of that?

also @Kristy I wanna put this other thread on your radar: Facial recognition action ideas and planning …that’s where we are doing our plotting!


Kristy, yes! I have already been offered a spot at my state conference to present about LFI, and I definitely want to use that opportunity to raise awareness about this.


omg yessss, when is this happening Ashley? let me know if you wanna check in about ideas. I will send you the LFP template for slides, and if there’s time I can send stickers to you.

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The presentation will either happen on April 15 or 16, 2020. So plenty of time, and I will have completed all of the LFI training so I will be better prepared. And I can cover any topic(s) as long as they relate to my experience in LFI.

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fantastic. can’t wait to see what you end up focusing on.