#ChoosePrivacy at ALA Annual in New Orleans

Choose Privacy Everyday small logoBig Data, learning analytics, data literacy, cybersecurity, and protecting patron privacy: it’s all on the agenda at this year’s ALA Annual Meeting in New Orleans.  Here is the current list of privacy-related meetings, programs, and events taking place in the Morial Convention Center June 20 – June 26:

Committees and Interest Groups

Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) Privacy Subcommittee
Sunday, June 24
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 216
The business and planning meeting for the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s Privacy Subcommittee.  All who are interested in assisting with the development of programming, policies, standards, and best practices for library users’ privacy and confidentiality are invited to attend and participate.

Privacy Programs

Big Data in Libraries: Friend or Foe?
Saturday, June 23
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 278
The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) is proud to sponsor a moderated debate on the subject of “big data” analytics in the library world. The right of library users to keep private their individual use of library resources has traditionally been protected by federal, state and local privacy laws as well as ALA’s long-standing guidelines. But those protections are increasingly challenged by the use of “big data”: library patron information that is bundled up, aggregated, and (usually) anonymized for varied purposes including trend analyses, grant funding, and reporting to local governments. But has this new era of data collection become another form of surveillance? Is the aggregated data of library users truly anonymous? Can we collect such data and still guarantee the minimum standards of privacy for our library users? In this lively discussion, two speakers representing opposing points of view will debate the “big data” phenomenon and its possible consequences for patron privacy. The IFRT discussion will be moderated by Bill Marden, Director of Privacy and Compliance at The New York Public Library.

Youth Data Literacy at the Public Library
Saturday, June 23
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 286-287
Data literacy is a new area of education in the public library. Although many have advocated for the education of a data literate population, there is little consensus on what such educational programs should look like, particularly those in the area of informal learning. This program presents the Exploring Data Worlds at the Public Library project, which explored how libraries can help teens gain an understanding of the data life cycle, including the processes involved in data creation, collection, and aggregation with networked devices, platforms, and information services as well as their rights in a data-driven society. The project field-tested a series of data literacy workshops with teen services librarians and youth at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. We present here some of the lessons learned about teen engagement with data at the public library as well concrete examples of data-oriented activities.

Libraries and Learning Analytics: Identifying the Issues
Saturday, June 23
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 395-396
Higher education institutions have greatly increased pressure on their libraries and librarians to demonstrate quantitative impact of their resources, staffing, collections and programs in relation to learning outcomes, student success and student retention. This is built on a Big Data toolkit, which calls for warehousing large quantities of data for various analytical purposes. Specifically, this requires identifiable student data and information. While anonymized data mining can provide powerful insights, it doesn’t support the purported major goal of learning analytics, which is targeting individual students. This reliance on one-to-one identified student information raises serious and wide-ranging moral issues and ethical quandaries for librarians. Patron privacy and intellectual freedom has been part of our professional code of ethics since 1939. While we already are navigating issues with vendor privacy, the learning analytics movement goes beyond student resource monitoring to planned intervention. This presentation will cover the ethical and practical challenges in the learning analytics movement. It will also review current data handling procedures against best practices for maintaining data security and privacy.

SimplyE and the Library-Developed solution to ebook discovery and patron privacy
Sunday, June 24
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 388-389
SimplyE makes it possible for library patrons to browse, search, checkout and read all of their library’s ebook offerings from a growing list of ebook vendors — including Overdrive, Cloud Library, OneClickdigital, Axis 360, enki Library, and more — using a single ereading app. Developed by libraries, SimplyE puts patron privacy back into the protective hands of libraries to ensure patron information and reading histories are not managed by third party commercial vendors. Developed by New York Public Library (NYPL) in partnership with IMLS and libraries across the country, the SimplyE app was launched at NYPL in 2016. Since then, state libraries including California, Connecticut, Maryland and Georgia, and consortia including Califa, RAILS, Massachusetts Library System, Amigos and Minitex have been working together to facilitate deployment of SimplyE for member libraries in other states.

LITA President’s Program with Kendra Albert: The Silences of (Big) Data
Sunday, June 24
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 260-262
As data becomes the substrate for human and algorithmic decision-making and funding, it speaks louder and louder. But what can we infer when there is no or limited data, that is, when the data is effectively silent? Like all records, the data that libraries collect about their patrons and services contain presence and absence, resistance and compliance, exclusion and overrepresentation. In this provocative talk, lawyer and critical legal scholar Kendra Albert will reflect upon how the rise of data collection in libraries can be informed by the silences of data. Albert is a clinical fellow at Harvard Law School, where they teach students and advise clients on legal matters related to copyright, privacy, and computer security. Their scholarship focuses on applying critical legal theory to modern day technology issues and understanding how power shapes and is shaped by technology systems.

Improving Access Control in a Privacy-protecting Way: An update on the RA21 Initiative and how it aligns with privacy goals
Sunday, June 24
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 208
The Resource Access in the 21st Century (RA21) project has been developing pilot technology to improve the user experience of SAML-based authentication. The solutions aims to improve the user experience and do so in a privacy-protecting way. This session will report out the progress of the pilot technology developments and the movement toward an industry recommended practice. Two RA21 pilot technologies will be demonstrated and discussions will also center on how the resulting efforts have been built around the library community values of protecting privacy.

Defense Against the Dark Arts: Techniques and Practices to Protect User Privacy When Conducting Data Analytics
Monday, June 25
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 293
Libraries are faced with the competing needs to protect the privacy of their users while at the same time analyzing the use of library collections and services. This panel session will cover the threats to library user privacy posed by data analytics and the practices and techniques that libraries can adopt to mitigate these threats, including access control, aggregation, and de-identification.

Library Cybersecurity: Should we be concerned?
Monday, June 25
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 295
In 2016, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), “U.S. companies and government agencies suffered a record 1,093 data breaches … a 40 percent increase from 2015”. By June 30, 2017, the ITRC reported 792 data breaches occurred in 2017, a 29 percent increase over 2016 at the same time. These increases affected all industry sectors, including Education which covers Libraries. This session will address why someone would want to perform cyberattacks against libraries. We will look at the assets a library owns, or has access to, that would be worth going after. Ways to secure library assets will be explored.

Privacy-Adjacent Programs

National Policy and Libraries: What’s Going On?
Saturday, June 23
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 393
Funding… digital inclusion… broadband… copyright… improving economic opportunities… and more! The national policy landscape continues to bubble and boil—creating challenges and opportunities for libraries. Our expert panel will discuss the issues most central to libraries. Based on decades of inside-the-beltway experience, they will provide insider insights of what is really taking place, what is on the horizon, and what we need to do about it to advance the library mission and services. Find out where you can help and get answers to your questions.

AI Lab at a Library? Why Artificial Intelligence Matters & What Libraries Can Do
Monday, June 25
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 393
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has surfaced as a much-discussed technology trend due to the recent remarkable developments in areas such as self-driving cars, automated journalism, and robots. While AI may still be a new concept to many librarians and library professionals, AI technology will have a far-reaching impact to almost every aspect of our lives in the near future from education to economy. And libraries are no exception. This program will provide an overview of what AI technology is, how it enables the so-called “intelligent machines,” and why it is crucial for libraries to pay attention to this new trend. This program will also discuss the AI Lab created at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Libraries through the URI Libraries’ close collaboration with the College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science, the first of its kind located in a library setting.

 LITA Top Technology Trends
Sunday, June 24
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 344
LITA’s premier program on changes and advances in technology. Top Technology Trends features our ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts and thought leaders. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology that they see having an impact on the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends. More information about the program is available at the Top Tech Trends site.

Is There an App for That? A Discussion of Emergent Tech Trends in Library Services
Monday, June 25
1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Rm 390
Join us for a lively discussion on the technologies that are impacting reference and public services at your library. What are your biggest emerging technology successes, failures, and lessons learned? Share your problems and crowdsource for solutions! What can we learn from you? Use #etsreftalk on Twitter to join the conversation during this session.

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