Threatened by surveillance from corporations and governments, our right to access information is chilled. As stewards of information and providers of Internet access, librarians play a central role in meeting the information needs of communities and are in an obvious position to educate patrons about how to shield their privacy from surveillance threats.
Libraries provide access to information and in doing so should protect patrons’ right to explore new ideas, no matter how controversial or subversive, unfettered by the pernicious effects of online surveillance. What’s more, public libraries serve communities that have historically come under more surveillance and scrutiny than the general population, including people of color, Muslims, queer people, transgender people, political activists, the formerly incarcerated, and people living in poverty. Libraries are centers of democracy, and the Library Freedom Project gives librarians the information and tools they need to ensure their institutions remain beacons of intellectual freedom in an open society. We’re fortunate to be working with incredible organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, the Tor Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation to make our work possible. We’ve been teaching privacy tools to librarians all over New England, and we’re about to scale our work in a huge way — bringing anti-surveillance workshop to libraries across the country. Stay tuned; we’ve got big things coming.