Week 16 discussion

Related are the [Privacy Con videos] (PrivacyCon videos) Gary Price linked to. I found that those fascinating and info rich. Those videos led me to FTC’s Informational Injury Workshop. The first two panels were particularly interesting, informative, and lead me to a lot other resources. I am overwhelmed with, ummm, data.

This also reminds me of this thread. @greK, I am assuming you were using data to increase literacy not exploit people with low literacy. But it also reminds me of controversies with Ubuntu Linux community as to how much tracking / auto reporting should be included in their distro. Ubuntu developers are like, “we can’t fix things or know who are users are if we rely on self reporting.” The brings up the matter of who to trust and why. Do we trust our libraries, Signal, Canonical (the makers of Ubuntu), or Google?

I think if you start from a principle of collecting as little info as possible, you are less likely to end up in a situation where you’re collecting data just because you think you should. besides, analytics about broken stuff is a relatively low level of tracking compared to what is happening on your average website. data minimization should be the goal!

that said, we don’t track ANYTHING about Tor users, and stuff breaks all the time and we have a harder time knowing. whoops! please open a ticket! :slight_smile:

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On the call this week, I was screen shotting like crazy at the end! Particularly:

  • the adjustments you can make to Google Analytics (my library’s page is hosted by the school, so they manage the GA account, but I am going to reach out to see if they can make this adjustment for us. Sometimes they just don’t know and it’s not a big thing. I hope it’s not a big thing.)
  • my library is switching the Primo, and I’m glad to know about the Amazon tracking that used to happen and that you can ask them to remove it (in fact, the state bought Ex Libris’s Alma/Primo for all 114 community colleges should we want it, and my school is in the first batch, so I’m going to make sure we don’t have this enabled)
  • turning off referrers. While the library site is hosted by the school, we have moved a lot of the content off into LibGuides, and I’m hoping we can add that line of code Eric posted. I’m still looking around to see how what happens to patrons surfing around our Springshare stuff.

I’m also about to start a slew of library workshops for other classes who are coming in to learn how to do research, so I’ll slip in some of what I learned in the “web searching” parts of these sessions. In a conversation about how students have to login via the school to get the paid access to the databases, I spent a little bit of time talking about IP addresses and our proxy service covering their IP address. I know people think that IP authentication is not great, but I like that it passes on the school IP instead of the student IP. Maybe that is naive.


I don’t think that’s naive. I think that it’s definitely still better than an individualized IP. Similar to a public library environment, and a little bit of harm reduction (assuming that the student isn’t logged in to other identifying accounts like Google or whatever).

Gah. Just catching up on some reading this morning and saw a link to Hinchcliffe’s post about RA21. So much for the protection of a library proxy :\

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Yikes, thanks for sharing that @mtkinney! I had not heard about RA21. I’m going to share that with my colleagues here.

It took me a couple of weeks to listen to the Reply-all podcast that was part of the week 16 readings. I just listened to it a couple of days ago, and it was very timely because today a couple of our library work study students were talking about how they’re convinced that Facebook and YouTube are listening to them over their phones. I told them about the podcast and then walked one of them (who was interested in it) through locking down the privacy settings on his Google account–basically Data Detox Kit day 2.

It made me think that this might be a good hook for a public workshop. Being a commuter campus, we have a lot of difficulty attracting students to events. It seems like at almost every co-curricular event on campus, 75-80% of the audience is faculty and staff. I think a workshop entitled something like, “Is Facebook/Gmail/YouTube Listening through my Phone?: Understanding Ad Tracking” might actually draw people in.


@clobdell in my experience, that subject is something that all audiences are interested in, no matter how little they might be thinking about their privacy otherwise