Libraries and information services shall protect each user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted.
Many paraprofessionals have access to customer data. They may not be familiar with or feel obligated to follow ALA policies. Each library must establish clear privacy policies and communicate them to all employees.
Charleston County Public Library Staff Day (Image: mstephens7, http://flickr.com/photos/michaelsphotos/475515141/)
1970s - FBI institutes Library Awareness Program. Questioned librarians about individuals making reference requests related to scientific and technical information that might be of strategic interest to foreign agents.
Library employees can consult an attorney before complying with a subpoena, but may have to comply with a search warrant immediately. Library employees may inform their supervisor and attorney of the event regardless of secrecy provisions. (Neuhaus, 2003)
Four Connecticut librarians sought help from the ACLU after the FBI demanded patron records through a National Security Letter. (AP)
March 21, 2006 - FBI agents followed terror suspect Syed Ahmed into the Chestatee Regional Library in Dawsonville, Georgia. After Ahmed left the library, the agents accessed the browser history of the computer. The FBI agents did not have a search warrant. Syed Ahmed (AP)
“ The actions of the government agent, contrary to the policies and procedures of the library … violated the defendant’s reasonable expectations of privacy.” - Jack Martin, attorney for Syed Ahmed (Terror suspect, 2007) Technology allowed federal agents to bypass library policy….
Digital library transactions involve outside parties, such as software developers, database vendors, or Internet service providers. Existing laws and policies may not protect privacy of digital transactions. None of the existing state laws specifically discuss privacy of digital reference records. (Neuhaus, 2003)
encourage state and federal officials to update laws to protect digital library records
contact their federal representatives regarding bills that affect library privacy rights
Works Cited American Library Association. (1988, July 13). Resolution in opposition to FBI Library Awareness Program (88.07.13 #77.4) . Retrieved October 21, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/ala/godort/godortresolutions/19880713153.htm _____. (1995, June 28). Code of ethics of the American Library Association. Retrieved October 19, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/statementspols/codeofethics/codeethics.htm _____. (2002, January 23) . Resolution reaffirming the principles of intellectual freedom in the aftermath of terrorist attacks. Retrieved October 13, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=ifresolutions&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=78173 _____. (2002, June 19). Privacy: an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Retrieved October 19, 2007, from http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=interpretations&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=132904 American Society for Information Science and Technology. (1992, May 30). ASIS&T Professional Guidelines . Retrieved October 19, 2007, from http://www.asis.org/AboutASIS/professional-guidelines.html Fourie, D. K. & Dowell, D. R. (2002). Libraries in the information age: An introduction and career exploration . Greenwood Village, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Works Cited, cont. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. (2002, August 19). The Glasgow Declaration on Libraries, Information Services and Intellectual Freedom . Retrieved October 20, 2007 from http://www.ifla.org/faife/policy/iflastat/gldeclar-e.html Merriam-Webster Online . (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2007, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/penumbra Neuhaus, P. (2003). Privacy and confidentiality in digital reference [Electronic version]. Reference and User Services Quarterly, 43 (1), 26-36. Rubin, R. E. (2001). Ethical aspects of reference service. In R. E. Bopp & L. C. Smith (Eds.), Reference and information services: An introduction (3 rd ed., pp. 28-46). Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. _____. (2004). Foundations of library and information science (2 nd ed.). New York: Neal-Schuman. Terror suspect says FBI spied on his library computer use. (2007, October 11). The International Herald Tribune. Retrieved October 12, 2007, from http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/10/11/america/NA-GEN-US-Terrorism-Arrests.php