LFI.3: Week one discussion

  • What are your personal goals for this course?

  • What are some things you’re hoping to learn about? Either something that’s already on the schedule that you’re looking forward to, or something that’s not on the schedule that you’re hoping we’ll get into in some way?

  • Personally, I would like to be more confident in this issue, and integrate some of the tools and resources in my own library services such as information literacy curriculum and training teachers on privacy matters.

  • I’m curious about facial recognition applications and concerns. For work-related matters, I’d like to learn more about vendor agreements and privacy policies because I am currently doing a lot of collection development/acquisitions work and need to be more comfortable with vendor contracts/privacy policies.


Personally, I want to be able to gain the personal cybersecurity skills to be confident enough to have more of a public online presence. I’ve wanted to start up a blog for several years, but once logistics were possible, I realized how hostile the online “marketplace of ideas” can be by watching the reactions against people like Anita Sarkeesian or Zoey Quinn or Felicia Day spill over into “the meatspace”. I saw some articles about doxxing and swatting and photoshopped revenge porn and am embarrassed to admit I got scared out of expressing my ideas on more public platforms, so that’s one thing I’d love to cover. I was very happy to see one of the final projects from the previous cohort cover exactly this and have downloaded the PDF, so that’s exciting!

I’m also more broadly looking to connect with like-minded thinkers and do-ers, and I really want to make an impact on the bigger world, whether locally or on a bigger scale. I’m very interested in net neutrality and general policy change regarding digital rights. I’m so glad to be learning all the arguments and terminology I need to know to have the conversations I’ve been wanting to have for years, and I’m enjoying the heck out of the readings!

As another note, I made up a binder for this course and in the front of it I have a list of things to consider throughout the course (watch me use this as an excuse to remind myself how BBCode wants you to format lists!):

  • Analog vs digital media and localism vs globalism; is “more”, in various senses, really better? If so, is it always? Would there be benefits to partial reversion away from such a heavy dependence on digital communicae as is now the norm? Eg, ability to have communities develop around “niche” topics and ideologies, from fandom to fringe political beliefs–the possibility existed offline for all of human history, so what are the benefits and disadvantages to reverting more to analog media (eg, print media, zines and DIY culture, analog formats like cassettes or short-wave radio, use of physical space–like a posting wall in a marketplace instead of a Facebook wall!–for the sharing of ideas). Because the irony is that, due to the ability to copy and reproduce data so easily via digital means, where we have traditionally seen digital data as ephemeral or intangible, it is now more persistent and harder to eradicate than physical artifacts. (Remember when we all used to print up copies of things we did online so we could save them in hard copy in case something happened? :joy:)

  • Making the Internet safer and less hostile for the average, everyday user–social media users, bloggers, artists sharing their work online, ect., especially given that societal power imbalances tend to be only exacerbated online (as exemplified by, eg, comments on a female legislator’s Twitter replies, a POC writer’s thinkpiece, or an LGBTQ artist’s YouTube video or fanart).

  • How what we learn in this course applies or can apply to disability and disability studies.


Happy Tuesday morning!

Building a community of privacy awareness as well as a framework to help inform community stakeholders on privacy policy are some of my goals.

Understanding threat modeling as well as the ins and outs of data brokers are topics I am keen to learn more about.

Reading materials for Week 2 has already informed me so much more than I was before and I look forward to the insight and discussion next Monday (particularly about The Surveillant Assemblage).

My best,

  • I want to integrate a privacy component to my work and research with immigrant students.
  • I am interested in connecting with national and New York City privacy and surveillance advocates, researchers, and activists.
  • I would like to learn more about what corporations are doing to exploit and make money from user data so that I can help shape policies that value user privacy and influence technology purchases at Brooklyn College, and in the larger City University of New York system.
  • I am open to grant writing and multi-institutional collaborations (especially in creating stronger ties between public libraries and academic libraries).

Happy Tuesday everyone! Frans Albarillo


My goals are similar to the ones I’ve seen posted here so far. As an educator and the manager of our physical commons on campus, I feel uniquely positioned to raise awareness of what I’ve heard called “algorithmic justice” (or “social justice in technology” or “public interest technology”). I’m trying to do this both through more traditional means (book clubs, guest speakers) and some creative ones (tinkering together while laying ground for intergroup dialog and being “unproductive” to challenge the capitalist status quo). And I want to be prepped and ready for all of those discussions, formal or informal.

I also want to shake up librarianship, plain and simple…I feel like we desperately need to rise to the occasion and fight against what Shoshana Zuboff calls “epistemic inequality,” or the “division of learning” that positions a privileged few who can control or understand the technology that surveils and manipulates us. Our work is more important than ever, and we need to apply our resilience and innovation not only to this issue but the overwhelming whiteness and lacking diversity of our profession as well. If we continue to ignore this homogenity and don’t push back against it, we are not making good on attempts at developing an anti-oppressive practice. I’m hoping that LFI will be an opportunity for us to examine these issues in a more self-aware and honest way than what we see at your garden variety ALA conference.

One thing I’m eager to learn more about or develop with the help of the great minds in this cohort is information literacy instruction in the age of surveillance & algorithms. Many of us academic library people engage classes through “one-shots” aimed at assisting with research for specific projects. How do we keep those sessions task-oriented while also making space for description & discussion of manipulative, invisible, and/or malicious [dis]information?


•To learn what can be done about privacy violations you see happening everyday and how to implement those practices to protect our users’ personal information.

•Help our users understand all of the personal data that is being collected, stored and sold about them so that they can make informed decisions about whether or not to use new tech.

•How do we help students protect their privacy on platforms they are already using (ex. Google docs, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)? Maybe, I’ll just have them read the Surveillant Assemblage and they’ll never want to post again.

Wishful thinking,


Hi All,

My personal goals for the course are to build expertise in the area of privacy and to learn how to effectively advocate on behalf of the public interest in areas that relate to privacy and technology. As a Visiting Program Officer with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries for the past two years, I have been advocating for copyright legislation that is “fair for users and workable for libraries” and I’d love to be able to build enough knowledge to serve a similar role for other issues like privacy. For example, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is currently looking for feedback on their draft recommendations to government that relate to AI in Canadian privacy legislation. While we are working on a response, I hope that the knowledge I gain in this course will help me inform future submissions to government (or related organizations) on behalf of the Canadian library community.

Things I hope to learn in this course include the theoretical underpinnings of privacy (with a focus on the way that privacy intersects with emerging technologies). I’m also very interested in the types of tools and strategies that the public can use to protect their own privacy, in a world where that is far from an easy task.


When I think about this course the first thought that comes to my mind is that I want to get into the details of privacy and surveillance. I have a lot of ‘feelings’ around the issue and am looking to go past a potential conspiracy wall in my mind and look for facts, research, and other’s input. The larger goal is always to learn something, ideas, best practices that I will be able to share with my community.

I’m looking forward to discussing topics that I come into contact with on a daily basis such as: public computer environments, vendor agreements, and the lifecycle of your library’s data.


Generally, I’d really like to be a better privacy advocate and educator in my Library, around my college, and in my state where I’m active in library association work. That means gaining greater knowledge about privacy issues and how to communicate them to others in ways that actually change minds/actions.

Something I’m specifically very concerned about and want to learn more about is student surveillance and learning analytics. My College wants to become more data-driven, but they have a history of uncritically chasing trends without thinking about the implications. And I’ve seen lots of schools more on the cutting edge of this trend surveilling students and using data in very concerning ways.

I’m really interested in learning more about threat modeling and I want to get better at thinking about the downstream impacts of surveillance and big data/data-driven decision making. I’m currently on an Antiracist Educators Committee that is looking at PCC policies to identify equity issues. Recently, we examined the criteria for students receiving emergency grant funding which utilized a predictive model of student success (very data-driven, right?) to give money to students most likely to persist by requiring that students had been at least half-time enrolled in the past two consecutive terms. We learned that this model disproportionately excluded students of color, students with children, and students with disabilities from even being able to apply for the funding. Not awesome.

I’d love to do something like Cornell just did to start developing a framework of values, guidelines, and policies around our collection, storage, and use of student data (thanks Eliza for sharing it and for your advocacy!). Without guidelines or even a sense of shared values, I could definitely see my College pursuing questionable stuff in the future in the name of helping students.


Loved your whole second paragraph, but these lines especially! ::finger snaps::


Like @meredithf, I want to be a better privacy advocate. I want to gain enough knowledge about privacy/surveillance to where I’m confident arguing points and stand some chance of convincing people. I also want to learn things that I can be doing for myself and others (patrons included!) to protect people’s privacy.

I’m especially interested in consumer surveillance, because I talk to so many people who have never given a second thought to it. Or, who know it exists but don’t understand why it could possibly have any drawbacks.

Like @Callan, though, I’ve also got a strong interest in algorithmic justice. Mine stems from a higher-up at a previous job who told me that ethics were irrelevant to the computer science curriculum (?!?!!). I spent the rest of my time there devoting much of CS’s book budget to anything I could find about the biases baked into so many programs / systems / you name it. I’d like to take more direct action, though!


And sad to say, facial recognition is becoming a work issue, because there are some vendors trying to incorporate it into software and some librarians trying to push it. I’ve heard it suggested as a replacement for library cards. Would be real bad!

This is not something to be embarrassed about! These things are incredibly scary, and they have had the real effect of censoring a lot of people. We will cover doxxing and related stuff towards the end of the course.

I will be very interested to hear your thoughts on the IndyMedia piece!

Super important and one of the more challenging considerations, since giant companies like Google have the money to funnel into usability, and most privacy technologies do not. Plus there’s other issues, like the fact that a password that’s easy for most people to remember is not a strong password. And so on and so forth. We’ll talk about these issues when we talk about teaching the tools.

Can’t wait to talk about with you Sam!

Oh if you wanna do grant-writing, I will definitely help you realize this dream. :smiley:

It’s me, blowing an airhorn at this comment.

Thank you for recognizing exactly what I’m trying to do here!!!

People will surprise you with what reaches them! But for the ones who don’t wanna read a long text I swear we’ll come up with some other options. :slight_smile:

It’s something that previous cohorts have been very active in, particularly with regard to facial recognition legislation in the US, since there is a lot of momentum around that.

Gosh, me too!

We heard from folks at the Data Doubles project during the last cohort and I realized I didn’t put them on the schedule this time, but I can fix that!

Oh we will definitely cover this!!!

OMG, this has basically become my raison d’etre! Have you read the book How to do Nothing by Jenny Odell? It’s basically a love note to fallow time, putting our attention back into the things we love and our communities, and resisting the attention economy, the cult of productivity, and self-optimization. I read it last summer and it was LIFE CHANGING! Next week’s reading “You are a Cyborg” has echoes of a lot of things Odell writes about.


:fist: :fist:

YES. I loved that book and I’m trying to see if we can do a campus-wide read of it from home while we’re in coronavirus limbo. Though I realize this happens everywhere to varying extents, I feel like our students are put on a conveyor belt to the surveillance/military-industrial economy as soon as they show up with us and yet we give so much lip service to prioritizing social good. The library under me is just pushing back against that as much as I can get away with. :wink:

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oh my godddddd I just died a little at that ethics comment :axe:

just stopping by for the “How to Do Nothing” fanclub. It was a favorite in the last cohort too!

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Has anybody read the ‘Sad by Design’ article? I just finished it and was laughing out loud at the Melissa Broder ‘So Sad Today’ SMS-length messages titled, “I’ve been on your face book page for five hours today: a love story” or “We’re going to spend the rest of our lives in my head: a love story” -

This article is really great reading -

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save your thoughts til our Monday lecture!!! :grin:

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