7 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 297 2019 Reader Privacy: The New Shape of the Threat Clifford A. Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information Introduction This essay briefly summarizes the current range of threats to reader privacy and makes some high-level suggestions that research library leadership might consider to address them. It is not comprehensive, and does not go into much technical detail those interested in a place to start might see my paper “The Rise of Reading Analytics and the Emerging Calculus of Reader Privacy in the Digital World,”1 keeping in mind that it’s now two years out of date. I also note recent projects funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services intended to provide guidance for libraries of all types: Library Values and Privacy in Our National Digital Strategies2 and the National Forum on Web Privacy and Web Analytics,3 as well as a very recent and welcome statement of principles in a posting by Mimi Calter of Stanford University on The Scholarly Kitchen.4 These may also be helpful. Fundamental Reader Privacy Threat Scenarios Threats to reader privacy fall into three major categories. The first is eavesdropping on the interactions between a reader and various systems that help the reader to discover and obtain information. To a first approximation, in the digital world this can be effectively addressed by routine (but properly configured!) encryption of such interactions. Surprisingly, as recently as, say, four years ago, implementation of this strategy was relatively rare and libraries had been slow to demand it from vendors. Today such encryption is becoming increasingly commonplace, particularly in research libraries. I shall not consider this further here.
Previous Page Next Page