20 August 2015

From the Annual Conference

IFLA Publishes a Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment

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At its 14 August 2015 meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, the IFLA Governing Board endorsed an IFLA Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment. The FAIFE Committee oversaw preparation of the Statement and benefitted from consultation with IFLA units and various Internet civil liberties advocacy organisations. 

This new Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment is intended to give guidance to libraries and information services in an environment that includes mass surveillance by governments and routine user data collection by commercial interests that provide content or services through the Internet. Risks to library users' privacy might arise through their use of search or social media applications on the Web or their use of library platforms and content that collect data on end users.

The statement describes current challenges to the protection of user privacy for libraries and information services, outlines relevant international statements of privacy as a right and identifies related IFLA policies. Finally, the Statement on Privacy in the Library Environment offers recommendations to libraries and information services around both advocacy for privacy protection and practical measures to protect user privacy in libraries. It recognises that libraries and information services have little ability to affect some kinds of data collection about their users, and encourages appropriately adjusting local library data collection practices, considering privacy concerns in procuring platforms and services, informing and educating users of risks and best practices, and participating in community efforts to promote the protection of privacy. 

Read the statement: [PDF – English]

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Libraries, Privacy, Freedom of expression, Freedom of information, Privacy in libraries, Data collection, Surveillance

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