Week 12: Vendor agreements and privacy policies

This is the “argument” I get a lot as well–the privacy ship has sailed and no one really cares about it anymore anyway. It’s always a little frustrating when people seem to be willing to let go of a core librarianship value because it’s too hard. This is a teachable moment to explain to patrons why libraries value privacy so much and why they work so hard to safeguard their patrons’ privacy. If the privacy ship has been lost, people should at least know what they’ve lost (and I’ll stop now with all the ship metaphors).

And Erin’s statement about how the library has the public trust really hit me as well. If it comes through the library, it is the library. If a vendor has a breech, the library has a breech. And thinking of some of the vendor breeches than have happened, I wonder how (and if) patrons were notified–did it come from the library or from the vendor? I can imagine if it came from the vendor it could be doubly jarring–there’s been a breech and you’re getting notification about it from a third party you didn’t realize you were in a relationship with.

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I am really into the idea of reframing the “it’s privacy or convenience” argument to “it’s trust or convenience”.

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And thinking of some of the vendor breeches than have happened, I wonder how (and if) patrons were notified–did it come from the library or from the vendor? I can imagine if it came from the vendor it could be doubly jarring–there’s been a breech and you’re getting notification about it from a third party you didn’t realize you were in a relationship with.

In the case of Kanopy, they emailed patrons directly. I have mixed feelings about it because I do very much appreciate the transparency, but I also think that it makes libraries look really bad. I am still surprised by the traction Kanopy has gained. I do really hope they get booted from more libraries because of their $$$ approach to everything. It just blows my mind that libraries are their only market & they have an atrocious privacy policy, as we saw in Erin’s presentation. I hope that all the fuss over Lynda.com will make more libraries more carefully consider their vendors & do some real work to either get vendors on board with library ethics or cut them off completely.

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I completely forgot that patrons see vendor products as part of the library because after becoming critical of their business practices - I think of them and see them as companies, but this isn’t the case for our patrons. I think this can also fit into the different types of frustrations students/patrons/ professors have with library resources & how that frustration can be wrongly directed at library workers at times.

I HIGHLY recommend this article by a fellow CUNY librarian: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3231431. This article/research highlights the larger business practices of vendors, and how the push and fight for open access to information hurts their business model & the various ways they have found new markets (ex. contracts with ICE for license plate databases).

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