Librarians as Patron Advocates in the “Privacy Paradox”

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The NPR post entitled “Privacy Paradox: What You Can Do About Your Data Right Now” while promoting an upcoming podcast, brings up some increasingly pressing consumer privacy concerns as companies develop technologies which collect and sell user information.

Librarians are positioned in a unique and increasingly important position of advocating for privacy rights as professionals who both understand the implications of data collection, and who are often in the position of translating technology to patrons and developing patrons’ digital literacy. Indeed, privacy is a central concern of information professionals (such as librarians) and professional organizations, such as the ALA, have created offices and often update “toolkits” to guide information professionals through implementing privacy protections for patrons and to promote intellectual freedom.

The consumer is often unaware that the software features serve to promote what, in the article, Shoshana Zuboff calls  “surveillance capitalism.” A librarian may be able to shine a light on these privacy concerns by acting in the public interest as an intermediary between corporations and consumers.

H. Baribeau. LIS 653 SP 2017

Zomorodi, M., Poyant, J., Aaron, K. (2017, Jan 30). Privacy paradox: What can you do about your data right now. NPR. Retrieved from: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/01/30/512434746/privacy-paradox-what-you-can-do-about-your-data-right-now utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170131

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by Hugh McLeod

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Pratt Institute School of Information
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