Privacy Tool Kit


Selected Background Readings & Reference Works

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Cyber-Rights Working Group. " Electronic Privacy Principles ." Approved by the CPSR Board Sept. 3, 1996.

This site provides a general overview of online privacy concerns, then lists the privacy protection responsibilities of various groups, including employers, service and information providers, software developers, governments, individuals, and others. Includes links to other sources, but most are broken. Useful as an example of earlier online privacy statements.

Garfinkel, Simson. Database Nation. O'Reilly & Associates, 2000.

This book is intended as a call to action. Looking at (among other things) satellites, supermarket club cards, and Social Security numbers, Garfinkel outlines the varied threats to privacy that are embedded in daily life. Suggests how current laws (pre-USA PATRIOT Act) may be modified to preserve privacy rights.

Miller, Seumas. "Privacy, Data Bases, and Computers." Journal of Information Ethics. 7 (1), Spring 1998: 42-48.

A concise overview of the philosophical aspects of privacy is followed by a prescient concern about the potential and real abuses of the increasing amount of personal information collected and aggregated by computer databases.

Mintz, Anne, ed. Web of Deception. CyberAge Books, 2002.

Various experts describe the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate Internet and emailed charity solicitations, legal advice, medical advice, fraud, misinformation, identity theft and other threats to privacy or accuracy in Web-searching and information-gathering.

Privacy and Human Rights: An International Survey of Privacy Laws and Developments. Electronic Privacy Information Center & Privacy International. Published annually since 1999.

Issued jointly by two important privacy advocacy groups, PHR reviews the state of privacy in over fifty countries, outlining the conditions under which privacy is protected and summarizing recent events. Some of the topics covered include data protection, wiretapping and surveillance, genetic databases, ID systems, freedom of information laws, and workplace privacy rights.

Rosen, Jeffrey. The Unwanted Gaze: The Destruction of Privacy in America. Random House, 2000.

In this book, Rosen examines the erosion of privacy in different arenas: home, work, law, the courts, and cyberspace. In all of these areas, technology plays a central role in the loss of privacy. The author demonstrates that the failure of privacy protections to keep pace with technological advances in communication is the primary culprit behind the loss of privacy.

Raul, Alan Charles. Privacy and the Digital State: Balancing Public Information and Personal Privacy. Kluwer, 2002.

This book explores the issues of privacy and government services. Acknowledging the benefits of digital government services at the outset, Raul then outlines the flaws in current privacy law, examines constitutional foundations for existing legislation, and suggests best practices for governments. Examples of state policies are also included.

Rotenberg, Marc, editor. Privacy Law Sourcebook: United States Law, International Law, and Recent Developments. Electronic Privacy Information Center. Published annually since 1999.

This work intends to provide a "basic set of privacy materials for the US and the international sphere." Reprints privacy law and treaties from around the world, and includes sections covering recent developments and threats to privacy. Some items not reprinted from year to year; access to old volumes can be useful.

Warren, Samuel & Brandeis, Louis. "The Right to Privacy." Harvard Law Review. 4 (5), Dec. 1890: 193-220.

Source of "the right to be let alone," this foundational document has been called one of the most influential essays in the history of American law. Reflecting the upper class concerns of its day, it addresses commercial exploitation of gossip and technological aids to an invasive press, rather than Big Brother government surveillance.

Selected Readings on Privacy & Confidentiality in Librarianship

Adams, Helen R. "Privacy & Confidentiality: Now More Than Ever Youngsters Need to Keep Their Library Use Under Wraps." American Libraries. Nov. 2002: 44-48.

In this article, youth services librarians and school media specialists give examples of the privacy concerns faced by today's children and youth. A review of state and federal legislation that impacts privacy is also included, along with suggestions for training both students and staff about privacy.

Angel, Colleen. "The Right to Privacy." Journal of Information Ethics. 9 (2), Fall 2000: 11-25.

Tracing the right to privacy back to the Magna Carta, this article outlines the historical development of privacy rights, lists current threats and violations to established privacy rights, and identifies areas of action for maintaining our historic rights.

Bielefield, Arlene. Maintaining the Privacy of Library Records: A Handbook and Guide. Neal-Schuman, 1994.

This book provides an excellent overview of the relationship between libraries and the First Amendment, the constitutional right to privacy, and major federal laws that protect privacy. This book also includes a state-by-state comparison of library privacy protections, along with the actual legislation. However, any changes in the last ten years are absent, so this section of the book is not reliable.

Coyle, Karen. " Privacy and Library Systems Before & After 9/11 : Outline of talk given March 27, 2002 at the Public Library Directors' Forum."

These notes provide some guidance for reviewing policies and procedures regarding information collected and stored by library information systems. Suggestions for proactively addressing privacy issues both within and beyond the library are also discussed. More recent papers are available from:

Estabrook, Leigh S. " Public Libraries' Response to the Events of September 11th  (PDF), A National Survey Conducted by the Library Research Center at the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science." Library Research Center, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. January 22, 2003.

This survey of Illinois public libraries examined changes in security policies, collection development, and staff behavior regarding patron Internet usage and privacy issues. Awareness of the USA PATRIOT Act was also measured. This and additional studies can be found at:

Fifarek, Aimee. "Technology and Privacy in the Academic Library." Online Information Review. 26 (6), 2002: 366-374.

This essay addresses privacy threats arising from the ever-increasing adoption of new information technologies in academic libraries. The author provides a systems librarian's perspective on the interaction between librarians on the one hand and campus computing and campus police on the other. Fifarek provides a case study in "privacy failure," discusses both clear and unclear aspects of privacy-related legislation (including the USA PATRIOT Act), provides a list of measures that librarians can take to protect their patrons, and concludes with suggestions on creating acceptable use policies.

Gardner, Carrie. " Fact or Fiction: Privacy in American Libraries  (PDF)." Presented at Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2002.

This paper provides examples of how libraries and ALA have historically protected patrons' privacy, then outlines some concerns about privacy and the Internet. It also includes a draft of " Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights."

Gorman, Michael. " Privacy in the Digital Environment: Issues for Libraries  (PDF)." Presented at IFLA Council and General Conference 2001.

The ever-growing impact of technology on privacy, especially in libraries, is examined in this paper. Gorman outlines the historical development of the concept of privacy, examines issues raised by technological advances, and challenges some common library practices that don't follow the profession's historical standards.

Guenther, Kim. "Pass the Cookies and Uphold the Privacy." Computers in Libraries. 21 (6), June 2001: 56-58.

This article identifies personal profiling trends within libraries and suggests policies for protecting patron privacy. Guidelines from TRUSTe and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development are discussed.

Hildebrand, Janet. "Is Privacy Reserved for Adults? Children's Rights at the Public Library." School Library Journal (37), Jan. 1991: 21-5.

This article addresses some of the common concerns related to children's privacy at the library, such as financial responsibility, parental rights, and age of consent. Examples of how two public libraries have approached these issues are provided, along with clear explanations of the ethical issues involved.

International Coalition of Library Consortia. " Privacy Guidelines for Electronic Resources Vendors ," July 2002.

These guidelines are a template for helping database publishers and vendors develop appropriate policies for safeguarding patron privacy. Included is a sample privacy policy statement to be used by publishers and vendors.

McFall, Mairi & Karen Schneider. " The USA Patriot Act And What You Can Do ." California Library Association, 2003.

From the CLA Intellectual Freedom Committee, this concise document provides an overview of the Act, gives suggestions for responding to law enforcement requests, and has a great twelve point checklist for identifying potential stores of information in common library technology. Suggested resources for further research are provided.

Minow, Mary. " The USA PATRIOT Act and Patron Privacy on Library Internet Terminals ." Published Feb. 15, 2002.

Minow, a library law consultant, answers frequently asked questions about librarians' professional and ethical responsibilities under the USA PATRIOT Act. Legal obligations under provisions of the Act are reviewed and recommendations are included.

Murray, Peter E. Library Patron Privacy. SPEC Kit, 278. Association of Research Libraries, 2003.

Fifty-eight ARL member libraries (47% of ARL) responded to a 2003 survey on Library Patron Privacy. Survey results are presented with sample privacy policies for general library policies, circulation record, Web site, interlibrary loan, electronic reference, public access computers, hardware repair and disposal, and patron record requests.

Neuhaus, Paul. "Privacy and Confidentiality in Digital Reference." Reference & User Services Quarterly. 43 (1), Fall 2003: 26-36.

Digital reference includes chat reference, e-mail reference, Web forms, automated reference agents, knowledge bases and FAQ's, and transaction logs. The privacy issues for each type are discussed, and legal and ethical underpinnings of privacy policies are reviewed.

Peace, A. Graham & Kathleen S. Hartzel. "Ethical Concerns Raised by the Use of the Internet in Academia." Journal of Information Ethics. 11 (2), Fall 2002: 17-32.

In a broad look at the Internet's impact on a range of issues, including intellectual property, freedom of speech, and accessibility, this article also examines the interaction between privacy and technology as currently employed in higher education.

"Should Libraries Play Tag with RFIDs?" American Libraries. 34 (11), Dec. 2003: 69-71.

This interview with librarians Jackie Griffin and Karen Schneider outlines both advantages and concerns of using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in library applications.

Sturges, Paul Vincent Teng, Ursula Iliffe et al. "User Privacy in the Digital Library Environment: An Investigation of Policies and Preparedness." Library Management. 24 (1/2), 2003: 44-50.

Surveys were conducted in the United Kingdom of library users, libraries, and vendors of library management software on the privacy of digital library records. A significant disparity was found between users' expectations of the privacy of library records and libraries' preparedness to protect privacy. This study is useful for examining how another society views privacy.

Tavani, Herman. "Privacy-Enhancing Technologies as a Panacea for Online Privacy Concerns: Some Ethical Considerations." Journal of Information Ethics. 9 (2), Fall 2000: 26-36.

The development of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PET's), or technical and organizational concepts aimed at protecting personal identity, raises several ethical questions rather than solving privacy concerns. Viewing privacy as a commodity or a basic human right may give quite different perspectives on the need for education, informed consent, and social equity in the collection and use of personal information.

Vandergrift, Kay E. "Privacy, Schooling and Minors." School Library Journal (37), Jan. 1991: 26-30.

The author addresses a number of ways in which student privacy rights are routinely violated in the school setting, ending by addressing the role of the school library media specialist in protecting these rights.

An overview of various privacy concerns in libraries is provided, with reference to legal cases and their significance.

Wiegand, Shirley A. Library Records: A Retention and Confidentiality Guide. Greenwood Press, 1994.

State-by-state reviews of public record retention laws as they apply to library records are provided, with recommendations to enact strong confidentiality policies and laws.

Winter gives an overview of the court decisions from which privacy has been interpreted as a Constitutional right, and discusses privacy issues in various types of libraries by reviewing specific cases.

*Note that items previously cited in the Privacy Tool Kit are not listed here.