Privacy Matters...?

BC Libraries Conference 2016

Scott Leslie, BC Libraries Cooperative


  1. Is there a problem?

  2. Are we the ones to fix it?

  3. How?

1. Is there a problem?

Online Privacy Threats

  • Criminals, hackers
  • State - National security, Law enforcement
  • Commercial Entities
  • ISPs, employers, schools...libraries
  • Peers, family
  • Random Internet Strangers

2014 Survey of Canadians on Privacy 
by Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada


Pew Study "State of Privacy in America" late 2015

Open Media's crowdsourced "Canada's Privacy Plan"

Three key concerns that Canadians want to see addressed in order to tackle our privacy deficit:

  1. Warrantless access to personal information
  2. Widespread dragnet surveillance of entire populations
  3. Insufficient oversight and accountability of surveillance activities

2. Are we the ones to fix it?

Yes. Maybe.


Web Privacy in Practice: Assessing Internet Security and Patron Privacy in North American Public Libraries

Gabriel Gardner &  
Myron Groover 

eBook Security Evaluation

Matthew Reidsma

April 29, 2016 

3. How

It can't just be one approach, the problem's too big

  • Education

  • Advocacy

  • Service Innovation


  • Mozilla's "Easy ways to protect your online privacy and educate others"
  • EFF's Surveillance Self-Defence -
  • CryptoParty -


Service Innovation

  • In-branch
    • Various plugins to stop tracking, profiling
    • TOR browser on the desktop
  • If you don't need to know it, don't ask or store it
  • Privacy Infrastructure
    • TOR exit nodes
    • VPNs

 "Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say."


Edward Snowden

Further Reading

  • Adam Chandler, "Patron Privacy in a Surveillance State,"
  • Mike Robinson, "Library Privacy & Commercial Surveillance"
  • Soshana Zuboff, "The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism,"



Privacy Matters?

By Scott Leslie

Privacy Matters?

brief presentation as part of Privacy Matters panel at BC Library Conference, 2016

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