LibTechConf 2014: Protecting Library Patron Privacy Online

Presented by Dorothea Salo @dsalo

Pinboard with all the links mentioned during the presentation

Someone is Watching You

  • NSA
  • Facebook and ohter social media
  • GOogle
  • marketing
  • hackers, bot nets, etc.

How NSA Got Our Information

  • company volunteers to help
  • company compiles under legal duress
  • company infiltrated
  • coerce upstream companies to weaken crypto
  • copy traffic off fiber
  • brute force cryptography
  • compromising digital certificates
  • hack computers, steal keys, steal data, sabotage

So What?

  • code of ethics covers protect library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality; don’t advance private interests at expense of others
  • includes patron Internet access
  • protecting patron privacy is part of our job

Unfortunately, can’t stop everything, can’t stop people from their choices, but can still help.


  • passive
  • informational
  • blocking
  • encryption
  • advocacy

Not mutually exclusive.

  1. stay up to date
  2. don’t keep data (e.g. return computers to neutral state, chat logs, patron specific circ data, website data) – keep as little data as possible
  3. Don’t use social media web bugs e.g. Facebook Like button
  4. Clear policy & procedure, train staff.
  5. Change browser settings e.g. default search engine, security/privacy, cache, cookies, etc.

Browser plugin “grades” website TOSes, blockers, lightbeam, others.

Don’t install Java (unless you have to, but then don’t let it autorun).


  • better wired, and if you wifi
  • password managers
  • HTTPS everywhere
  • TOR (the onion browser)


  • many reforms that can be supported

There was a huge amount of information, so check out the slides too.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

3 thoughts on “LibTechConf 2014: Protecting Library Patron Privacy Online”

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: