Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Serious game-playing and privacy

A quick shout out to Wandering Eyre for the Chronicle mention on gaming and libraries. Whoo-Hoo!

Speaking of serious game-playing, now that OCLC is seriously researching privacy, it seems like I can't turn around without seeing an article on privacy or hearing a radio report on a new threat. Danny Sullivan was on NPR's Marketplace tonight, talking about our relative lack of privacy in the Web world. (The Privacy International report sparked a lot of the talk, I'm sure. Matt's response.)

And thinking about privacy in the Web world leads me to thinking about privacy in libraries. One of the tenets we've been talking about with the advocacy research we're doing, is how U.S. libraries are seen (at least in some consumers' eyes) as a democratic institution, a part of the fabric of life as ingrained as voting and representative government. (Motherhood and apple pie? Death and taxes?) I started to wonder about how private our political lives are--and/or how much they should be. Certainly my vote is private (at least until I slap on a candidate sticker) and perhaps my IRS return is semi-private. What else is? What is not? Why and why not? And how did library records get mixed up in the middle of it?

These are questions that I have no idea if they'll be addressed in the privacy report or not. But I can tell you that once your consciousness is raised about it, privacy concerns are everywhere. My shredder is busy.


Anonymous said...

tenants -> tenets !

And you can't write about privacy & libraries without discussing the
Patriot Act allowing government access to my library borrowing records.

Alice said...

Thanks, anonymous. This is why it's good to have editors. I will correct it in the post.

Yes Patriot Act is huge in terms of privacy. I'm not sure if the report will go into the Patriot Act, either. But definitely related topic. How do you feel about it?