The Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE) Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) will hold a one-day seminar at CILIP Headquarters in London on March 12th to look at the privacy in the library environment in the age of digital information.

The emerging digital environment offers both risks and opportunities for libraries. Through familiarity with services offered by Amazon or other online information providers, users are more comfortable with sharing personal information in exchange for better, more tailored services. Yet the increasing use of mass data collection and surveillance in pursuit of national security, as well as the dangers posed by cyber criminals, mean that protecting library users’ confidentiality is becoming increasingly difficult. As the IFLA Trend Report has pointed out, can libraries still be considered truly ‘safe spaces’?

Up to 40 invited participants from across the library and human rights communities will come together to discuss how the digital information processes are changing the way library services are delivered.


The seminar will look at:

  • Access to and protection of personal data in a library setting
  • Use of metadata
  • Confidentiality
  • Monitoring and surveillance – the post-Snowden environment
  • Government and private sector approaches to collecting personal information

The Seminar is designed to inform the creation of guidance for librarians focused on the principles and practice of managing personal data in library and information services. IFLA has a long track record of providing capacity building in regards to topical issues affecting the global library community, and the outcome of the seminar will contribute to the suite of training materials already available under its flagship Building Strong Library Associations (BSLA) programme, as well as contributing to its new International Advocacy Programme (IAP).

Evening Discussion

Following the seminar, FAIFE and CILIP will co-host an evening discussion open to library and information professionals.  Participants in the seminar are also able to attend the evening event.

FAIFE Chair Martyn Wade will moderate the discussion which will feature speakers from the digital rights community, the private sector, the press and government. It will focus on the emerging digital environment formed by the Snowden revelations of 2013 and will place particular emphasis on the implications for advocates of freedom of access to information such as libraries.

Featured Speakers

  • Martyn Wade, Chair of FAIFE (Moderator)
  • David Greene, Civil Liberties Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation (TBC)
  • Dave Banisar, Senior Legal Council, Article 19
  • Simon Morrison, Public Policy Manager, Google

Complete Programme

  • [TBC]

For registration and further information, please email: