For immediate release | April 24, 2012

Choose Privacy Week begins on May 1, 2012!

CHICAGO - Choose Privacy Week begins next week (May 1 – 7, 2012), and the ALA is offering numerous resources to help libraries take part, including online programming, a series of blog posts and a brand-new new video documentary.

From April 25 through April 27, the ALA will release three brief online presentations that explore the growing impact of surveillance on our civil liberties. Each presentation is designed to help librarians better understand how government agencies and corporations are collecting, storing and using data about individuals' daily lives. These presentations will be posted on, and can be used to guide library program planning or can be shared with the community during Choose Privacy Week:

  • Wednesday, April 25: Michael German, senior policy counsel for national security and privacy for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, will discuss "Data Mining, Government Surveillance and Civil Liberties." Mr. German previously served as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where he specialized in domestic terrorism and covert operations. He is a Senior Fellow with
  • Thursday, April 26: George Christian will discuss "Challenging Government Surveillance in the Library." Mr. Christian is the executive director of the Library Connection, Inc., a non-profit cooperative of 27 public and academic libraries that share an automated library system and other technology services. In 2005, he joined three other librarians in a lawsuit challenging portions of the USA Patriot Act after he received a National Security Letter seeking sensitive information about a library patron.
  • Friday, April 27: Amie Stepanovich, legal counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), will explore "The Future of Biometrics and Government Surveillance." Ms. Stepanovich works on issues of national security, government surveillance, digital security and open government for EPIC.

In addition, will also feature five guest bloggers during Choose Privacy Week. Each essay will reflect on topics addressing the importance of defending privacy and assuring freedom from surveillance:

  • Monday, April 30: Barbara Jones, director, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom.
  • Tuesday, May 1: George Christian, executive director of the Library Connection and one of the "Connecticut Four," a group of librarians who filed a lawsuit challenging the use of the USA PATRIOT Act in libraries.
  • Wednesday, May 2: Neil Richards, professor of Law at Washington University, on privacy and the perils of social reading.
  • Thursday, May 4: Peter Chase, director, Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield, Connecticut, and one of the "Connecticut Four," a group of librarians who filed a lawsuit challenging the use of the USA PATRIOT Act in libraries.
  • Monday, May 7: J. Douglas Archer, reference and peace studies librarian at the University of Notre Dame and chair of the ALA-IFC Privacy Subcommittee.

Lastly, the keynote event of Choose Privacy Week 2012 is the May 3 premiere of a new documentary on privacy, government surveillance and civil liberties that libraries can share with their communities and host events to discuss the issues it raises. The documentary will be available for viewing at

The documentary considers the surveillance techniques used by federal and local law enforcement to spy on immigrant communities in America and the decision by local, state and federal governments to adopt these techniques to monitor and track the activities of all Americans. It features commentary from experts and everyday citizens who ask important questions about the impact of the growing surveillance state on national security, civil liberties and privacy rights.

Featured speakers include Michael German, ACLU senior policy counsel for national security and privacy; Margaret Huang, executive director of the Rights Working Group; Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Immigration Project; Julia Shearson, Executive Director at Council on American Islamic Relations – Cleveland; and Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week in 2010 to help libraries work with their communities in navigating the complicated but vital issues of privacy rights. Privacy has long been a cornerstone of library services in America and a right that librarians defend every day. The theme for Choose Privacy Week 2012 is "Freedom from Surveillance."

For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit or contact Jennifer Petersen, ALA PR coordinator at 312-280-5043,


Macey Morales

Media Relations Manager

American Library Association

1-800-545-2433 ext. 4393