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
Directory of Open Access Journals
Equinox Software, Inc.
Open Library of Humanities
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.