15 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 297 — 2019 Legal Landscape of Consumer/User Data Privacy and Current Policy Discussions Krista L. Cox, Director of Public Policy Initiatives, Association of Research Libraries Introduction Privacy has long been deemed an essential right, but this right has been threatened by current practices in the digital era, in which vast swaths of data are collected from individuals each day. Although privacy is not directly mentioned in the United States Constitution, courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States, have recognized a right to privacy based on the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Additionally, numerous states explicitly provide for a right to privacy in their constitutions or through state laws. Privacy, which was famously defined as a right to be left alone,1 relates to a number of areas of everyday life, including family, health, and—of particular importance to library—the ability to seek and impart information. The American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Bill of Rights explicitly recognizes that, “All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.”2 In interpreting this right, ALA defines privacy in the library context as “the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others.” ALA widely applies the right to privacy to search records, reference questions, circulation records, and personally identifiable information about uses of services and materials. ALA also notes, “best Privacy, which was famously defined as a right to be left alone, relates to a number of areas of everyday life, including…the ability to seek and impart information.