What is the Library Freedom Project?

We live in an era of unprecedented surveillance. The technical capabilities of law enforcement and intelligence agencies are rapidly expanding, and even the best attempts at law reform can’t keep up with these new powers. Over and over again, we’ve seen these capabilities used against protected free speech activities, especially against the speech of marginalized people. Compounding the problem of government surveillance is that of corporate surveillance; we rely on a small handful of data-driven private companies for all of our computing needs, and many of these services are “free” because we are the product. These corporate entities regularly collude with law enforcement to share our private communications, searches, contacts, and more — quite often without our knowledge. By fighting against surveillance, we can reject an internet controlled by a handful of powerful corporate entities and intelligence agencies, and take back our rights in the digital sphere.

Library Freedom Project is a partnership among librarians, technologists, attorneys, and privacy advocates which aims to address the problems of surveillance by making real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries. By teaching librarians about surveillance threats, privacy rights and responsibilities, and digital tools to stop surveillance, we hope to create a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the communities they serve.

Curriculum for youth online privacy class

Last updated on 31 March 2017. For current slidedeck, please contact us.

National Lawyers’ Guide Know Your Rights guides (translated): https://www.nlg.org/category/publications/kyr/

EFF’s Know Your Rights guide: https://www.eff.org/issues/know-your-rights

Student Immigrant Movement: http://www.simforus.com/home

FIERCE NYC: http://fiercenyc.org/

Download Tails (The Amnesiac Incognito Live System): https://tails.boum.org

Download Tor Browser for desktop: https://www.torproject.org/

Tor Browser manual for desktop: https://tb-manual.torproject.org/

Download Tor Browser for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.torproject.android

Download Signal for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/signal-private-messenger/id874139669

Download Signal for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.thoughtcrime.securesms

Security Tips Every Signal User Should Know: https://theintercept.com/2016/07/02/security-tips-every-signal-user-should-know/

EFF Wordlist for Master Passwords: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/07/new-wordlists-random-passphrases

Download LastPass: https://www.lastpass.com/

Download 1Password: https://1password.com/https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

Download Mullvad: https://www.mullvad.net/

Download Bitmask: https://bitmask.net/

Surveillance Self-Defense from EFF: https://ssd.eff.org/

Cryptoparty: https://www.cryptoparty.in/

20 Organizations Endorse the Library Digital Privacy Pledge

20 Organizations- libraries, publishers, library vendors, and library organizations have endorsed the Library Freedom Project’s “Library Digital Privacy Pledge”. These organizations are improving privacy for library users by implementing secure protocols on their web services and asking partners to do likewise.

Websites that do not use secure protocols, such as HTTPS, expose their users to surveillance and intrusion in the network. A wifi or cellphone user who connects to an insecure library or publisher website makes every click visible to the wifi or cellphone provider, others connected to the same network. Content can be inspected and altered by every node participating in the user’s connection. The resulting lack of privacy and security is incompatible with the ethics and values of libraries. In the past few years, while Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the United States federal government have worked to implement HTTPS on all their web sites; the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority has made secure infrastructure available to even the smallest web site.

“It isn’t always easy to assure privacy and security in a website. The efforts made by these 20 organizations are worthy of recognition, and I hope that more organizations will step up to the challenge.” said Eric Hellman, a Library Freedom Project volunteer and organizer of the Pledge.

“Libraries have been committed to intellectual freedom and privacy for decades.” said Alison Macrina, Founder and Director of the Library Freedom Project. “Libraries serve a diverse audience; some of these patrons are part of vulnerable groups, like domestic violence survivors, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ communities. They deserve the privacy and security afforded by HTTPS library connections”.

Endorsers of the Library Digital Privacy Pledge to date are:
Council on Library and Information Resources
Digital Library Federation
Digital Public Library of America
Metropolitan New York Library Council
New York Library Association
Lebanon Public Libraries
Millis Public Library
Ottawa Public Library | Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa
San Rafael Public Library
Bielefeld University Library
University of California at Davis
Auto-Graphics, Inc
Directory of Open Access Journals
Equinox Software, Inc.
Internet Archive
Odilo, LLC
Open Library of Humanities
Total Boox

To add your organization to the list (published at https://libraryfreedomproject.org/ourwork/digitalprivacypledge/library-privacy-pledge-endorsements/ ) or get more information, email the Library Freedom Project at pledge(at)libraryfreedomproject(dot)org.

About the Library Freedom Project:

Library Freedom Project is a partnership among librarians, technologists, attorneys, and privacy advocates which aims to address the problems of surveillance by making real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries. By teaching librarians about surveillance threats, privacy rights and responsibilities, and digital tools to stop surveillance, we hope to create a privacy-centric paradigm shift in libraries and the communities they serve.

The Library Freedom Project is made possible by generous grants from the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge on Libraries, the Rose Foundation Consumer Privacy Rights Fund, the Shuttleworth Foundation, the support of individual donors, and a sliding scale of fees for our lectures and trainings.

Wanna convince your library to run a relay? Use our resources!

We’ve been slowly putting together a resource packet of ideological, technical, and legal resources to help libraries who are considering running exit relays.

Today we added a new resource to that packet, a template letter to send to library stakeholders, introducing them to Tor and urging them to join the project. Special thanks to our awesome volunteer Raven Cooke, who kindly wrote this template letter for our whole community to use.

Let us know if you find this resource packet useful, or if there’s anything missing from it that you’d like to see.

Fighting the Global Arena panel at Logan Symposium

LFP Director Alison Macrina joined last week’s Logan Symposium panel “Fighting the Global Arena” with David Mirza Ahmad of Subgraph and Julian Assange, moderated by Jérémie Zimmerman. Watch the recording here.

Guest post: Research methodology and findings from MLIS students’ privacy study

Editor’s note: below is a guest post from Paige Sundstrom, an awesome MLIS student who worked with a group of other students at the University of Washington investigated privacy practices and needs in libraries, at both the individual and institutional level. We were impressed with the work of these students and asked Paige to write up a summary of the project in order to amplify the work of these students and encourage other MLIS students to build on this research. Are you a library science student focusing on privacy? Want to hear more about the research project these UW students conducted? Please get in touch!

Hi! I’m Paige — a first year MLIS student at the University of Washington’s iSchool. Last quarter I worked with three fantastic ladies (Alexa, Alexandra, and Stephanie <3 <3 <3) on a research project on Internet privacy and am excited to share my/our experience with all of you!

Continue Reading…

LFP wins Rose Foundation funding

We are thrilled to share some exciting news about the future of Library Freedom Project. Thanks to a grant from the Rose Foundation’s Consumer Privacy Rights Fund, Nima Fatemi will be joining Library Freedom Project as our chief technologist. Nima has been a dedicated volunteer with LFP for over a year, most notably helping create the highly successful Tor exit relay pilot project that we recently concluded in New Hampshire. With support from Rose Foundation, we’ll be able to continue the exits project at scale, with Nima traveling to libraries all over the country to implement relays. Nima will also conduct privacy trainings in libraries, taking them to a more advanced level, and help libraries set up privacy-protecting infrastructure.

Continue Reading…

The Library Freedom Project presents: Digital Rights in Libraries

So we made the announcement for our unconference back in February, and almost immediately it outgrew the original plan and became a two-day, multi-track event that’s so much more than a traditional unconference. We’re fortunate that speakers and technology trainers from Mozilla, Creative Commons, Hack the Hood, EFF, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Internet Archive, and more have decided to join us, and we really hope to see you there too.

Continue Reading…

Thank you, Representative Zoe Lofgren!

Yesterday, Representative Zoe Lofgren sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson, expressing her concern with DHS actions against the library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where we set up our Tor exit relay pilot. In this letter, Rep. Lofgren asks DHS to provide her with any other instances of the agency interfering with the public’s use of privacy-enhancing technologies.

We want to express our thanks to Rep. Lofgren for standing up for our right to use privacy tools like Tor, and we eagerly await the DHS response to her request.