It’s now been just over two months since the official announcement naming the Library Freedom Project as one of the winners of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge on Libraries. With Knight support, we’re scaling the Library Freedom Project in a huge way – taking our privacy training to libraries across the country – and the attention we received from the January announcement has helped us hit the ground running.
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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.
“DHS (Department of Homeland Security) fought to stop libraries from using privacy technology, but @LibraryFreedom beat them. Librarians are badass.”
Edward SnowdenBoard Chairman, Freedom of the Press Foundation