Europe and the Right to be Forgotten

Forget Me Not

The European Court of Justice has ordered Google to remove Information from their Search Results of anyone who asks.

The court’s decision means that individuals can ask Google or other search operators to take down links to web pages that are published by third parties, such as newspapers, containing information relating to them. That doesn’t mean that the article or website has to be removed or altered by the original publisher. It would only affect search results compiled by search engine operators like Google. – Google’s Legal Blow: What ‘the Right to Be Forgotten’ Means

Of course, this could ramifications for Libraries because we have all sorts of Databases to choose from? Will Lexis/Nexis have to remove Legal Cases that someone doesn’t like? What about the Polk Street Directory? And there is another aspect.

Given the U.S. now defines corporations as people too, can future regulations intended to protect individual right to privacy be used by corporations to erase past transgressions from Internet searches so that researchers, journalists, attorneys and others cannot find that information? And what of politicians? Can they cover up criminal arrests and investigations and other information voters should know on the grounds that such information is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant?” – Google must purge search results on demand, says EU court

I can understand the desire but I think the decision itself was ill-considered.

Note: If you don’t get the significance of the flowers, they are “Forget-Me-Nots.”

Lifestreaming Taken Too Far?

As I mentioned recently, I have been experimenting quite a lot lately with the whole “lifestreaming(Tagged with lifestream)”:http://www.michaelkpate.com/tag/lifestream/ concept. But there are limits.
bq.God, myBlogLog is creepy. I don’t exactly want people to know what I’m reading.. I don’t share google reader links either. 🙂 – “Eric Rice(God, myBlogLog is creepy.)”:http://twitter.com/spin/statuses/152385692 I tried “Wakoopa”:http://www.wakoopa.com/about/privacy for a while, but decided to unstall it because I felt like it wasn’t particularly useful. I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to try “cluztr”:http://www.cluztr.com/legal/privacy/. But this one…
bq.You walk into work at 9, leave at 5, and for the life of you can’t figure out what you spent all day doing. SnapLogger to the rescue. Install this little application on your PC and it will take a screenshot at specified intervals throughout the day, which you can play back as a movie. Installing this application will either make you more productive or just more self conscious and nervous. – “Brad Linder(Free download today: SnapLogger shows you where you’ve been)”:http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/07/18/free-download-today-snaplogger-shows-you-where-youve-been/ That takes things just a little too far.

Caveat Internet

Are you always careful when you are using a public Internet station or a public Access point?
bq.Any business traveler who has logged on to a wireless network at the airport, printed a document at a hotel business center or checked e-mail messages at a public terminal has probably wondered, at least fleetingly, “Is this safe?” Although obsessing about computer security is a bit like worrying about a toddler – potential hazards lurk everywhere and you can drive yourself crazy trying to avoid them – the fact is, business travelers take certain risks with the things they do on most trips. – “Susan Stellin(Web Surfing in Public Places Is a Way to Court Trouble)”:http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/22/technology/22secure.html?ex=1313899200&en=76d9a7011a41df20&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss How about the people who come in your library?

E-mail Addresses are Public Records

Any website for any sort of government agency in Florida is now required to prominently display the following statement:
bq.Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing. – “668.6076 Public records status of e-mail addresses; agency website notice.”:http://tinyurl.com/hxjzp It has become a “very popular phrase(Under Florida law…)”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=Under+Florida+law%2C+e-mail+addresses+are+public+records.+If+you+do+not+want+your+e-mail+address+released+in+response+to+a+public+records+request%2C+do+not+send+electronic+mail+to+this+entity.+Instead%2C+contact+this+office+by+phone+or+in+writing.&btnG=Google+Search in Google.

Age Online

With heightened concerns over sexual predators lurking at so-called social-networking sites, state attorneys general have called for such communities, particularly MySpace, to improve age and identity checks. If only it were so easy, experts say. “We’re all just grasping for solutions,” said Anne Collier, co-author of the forthcoming “MySpace Unraveled: What It Is and How to Use It Safely.” “We haven’t fully researched it and thought about all the implications.” – “Anick Jesdanun(Online Age Verification May Prove Complex)”:http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2006/07/17/290852-online-age-verification-may-prove-complex The irony is that I was listening earlier to a recent SecondCast where Philip Rosedale was making many of “the same points(Episode 25 – Send Pants)”:http://www.secondcast.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=41. And I heard an anecdote just a short while ago about something age-related that happened in a library near here. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think that this has “the potential(Abram on Blocking MySpace)”:http://tametheweb.com/2006/07/abram_on_blocking_myspace.html to be the “major library issue(library myspace)”:http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&q=library+myspace&btnG=Search+News of the year “one way(Getting in touch with your inner MySpace.com)”:http://www.strausnews.com/articles/2006/07/14/the_chronicle/news/25.txt or “the other(Convicted rapist arrested at library)”:http://www.syracuse.com/news/poststandard/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1152781026125860.xml&coll=1.

Life in a Police State

It seems like it has been a bad couple of weeks to be a library Director. Jackie Griffin of the Berkeley Public Library recently “resigned(Berkeley library rift reaches resolution)”:http://www.orovillemr.com/news/bayarea/ci_3917710 under a settlement agreement with the city. Jo Ann Pinder was “fired(Gwinnett library board fires director)”:http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/gwinnett/stories/0613gwxlibrary.html as Director of the Gwinnett County Library without any reason given (although some questionable ones were hinted at). But this one really concerns me as well.
bq.Library Director Michele Reutty is under fire for refusing to give police library circulation records without a subpoena. Reutty says she was only doing her job and maintaining the privacy of library patrons. But the mayor called it “a blatant disregard for the Police Department,” which needed her help to identify a man who allegedly threatened a child. Reutty, the director for 17 years, now faces possible discipline by the library board. – “Merry Firschein(Library chief draws cops’ ire)”:http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk2MDYmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY5NTE1NjImeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXkz Reutty is in trouble acting “in accordance with New Jersey state statutes governing access of private information from libraries.” While she may have violated procedure by not contacting the borough attorney, it seems from the comments that that is not what the upset is all about. It was not all that long that Steve Roberts “lost his job(JC Confidential)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2005/02/10/confidential for doing essentially what she didn’t. I guess whoever said that “No Good Deed goes unpunished” was correct.

Shades of 1984

bq.The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers’ online activities. Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs–that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept. – “Declan McCullagh(Your ISP as Net watchdog)”:http://news.com.com/Your+ISP+as+Net+watchdog/2100-1028-5748649.html?part=dht&tag=ntop&tag=nl.e703 I am think it may be time to reinstall “PGP”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=pgp&btnG=Google+Search and find a good “proxy server”:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=public+proxies&btnG=Google+Search.

Anonymous Library Cards

At first, I thought the idea was an odd joke. But then I saw that it was sent to “Slashdot(Anonymous Library Cards An Option?)”:http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/06/03/1157250&from=rss by Ben Ostrowsky. So I am sure it is a serious proposal.
bq.In short, collecting personal identity information about customers is a dangerous activity for a library. We should be careful to engage in it only when absolutely necessary. Until now, proof of identity has always been an essential form of collateral to protect a library and its possessions. But soon libraries will be able to protect themselves from many legal snafus by opting to let patrons remain anonymous. How? You have to realize that personal information is not the only form of collateral-you can use cash instead. For instance, did you know that you can rent an audio-book at any Cracker Barrel restaurant without showing identification? Just pay the price of the audiobook with cash, listen to it, and then return it with a receipt. They’ll give your deposit back in cash, minus the rental fee. We librarians can improve on this service model by eliminating the rental fee. – “Ben Ostrowsky(Anonymous Library Cards Allow You to Wonder, ‘Who Was That Masked Patron?’)”:http://www.infotoday.com/cilmag/jun05/Ostrowsky.shtml We have been engaged in a major debate this week at my library in methods to streamline the library card application process. In fact, at our monthly county-wide staff meeting, that was the sole topic of dicussion. And with all due respect to Ben, this is the kind of thing not only would I not propose but I would argue against as well. We don’t charge a rental fee for out items. Not now, not ever. For one thing, as Ben certainly knows, it is not permissible under Florida State Law. Any library that tried would be giving up state aid. And while I know of some here in Florida that have chosen to forgo that aid, we are not (nor will I expect ever be) in a position to do that. And the very idea of asking the State Legislature to rescind that portion of the statute is something that I would doubt would gain much support in the Library or Legislative communities. Now, of course, we do lend books to residents who qualify for a card. We also lend to residents from elsewhere who qualify under the 3 or 4 reciprocal borrowing agreements we subscribe to. And, of course, we lend items through Inter-Library Loan. On top of that, we do have a way, through a fee, for someone who does not qualify for a card to get one. Notice that in each of these instances listed, we have a way to contact and at least attempt to get ahold of the person who has the item checked out if it lost. To draw a comparison between Cracker Barrel and your local library is incredibly oversimplifying. If an item is not returned to Cracker Barrel, they either replace it or not. After all, anything they have on their shelf is curent material. In a library, most of the material is not so easily replaced, as most of it is out of print and would be extremely difficult to find. Cracker Barrel hopes the item isn’t returned. A library expects it will be. Why do we lend out this out-of-print essential irreplaceable item in the first place? Because that is part of the social contract we have put in place between libraries and the public. We lend the materials out and they bring the materials back. Hopefully, that all works out. Do we have items that have never been returned? Absolutely. But that is an unfortunate byproduct, rather than a calculated outcome. Another part of the social contract is we have worked hard to protect our patron’s identities. Court orders and search warrants are required to obtain any records, even under the Patriot Act. Once those records are obtained, their usefulness is extremely limited, because there is, with an exception involving fines, no information on checkouts retained. (Note: Polaris does offer a reading list feature, which patrons must explicitly choose to activate, but an overwhelmingly number of our patrons choose not to do so). Personally, I have never seen a warrant involving anything anyone checked out and I don’t expect to ever see one. If you want to get a book anonymously, my suggestion is go to a book store, and remember to pay cash.

Fingerprints instead of…

Indentification via fingerprints seem to be all the vogue “of late(Biometric DRM)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2005/05/19/biometric. And since the story of “Naperville Public Library(Naperville Public Library)”:http://www.naperville-lib.org/, “US Biometrics(US Biometrics)”:http://www.usbiometrics.com/ and their “Fingerprints instead of Library Card(Library card? Check. Fingerprint? Really?)”:http://tinyurl.com/7zer6 plan has been commented on at both “LISNews(Want To Use A Computer? We Need Your Fingerprint First)”:http://www.lisnews.com/article.pl?sid=05/05/20/0938223&mode=thread&tid=43 and “SlashDot(Library to Require Fingerprint to Use PCs)”:http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/05/20/1646225, I felt obligated to respond as well. Up until now, fingerprints have been required for everything from “selling videogames(http://www.libraryplanet.com/2004/05/04/fingerprints)”:http://www.gamespot.com/news/2004/04/30/news_6094652.html to “checking out library books(Fingerprint Library Cards)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2002/07/23/fingerprint (Did you remember that?). I gave up my own plans to be a master jewel thief a little over a decade ago when every darn school board I started working for wanted to do a background check. I can almost guarantee that some people will never want to go along with this plan. But on the other hand (no pun intended), some will not see it as a big deal. The downside to our PAMS system is that someone who has forgotten their library card has absolutely no way onto the computer. We empathize with them, but don’t really offer a workaround except for picking up a guest card. We also don’t check out books without the person presenting their card. The cool thing about using fingerprints is they never forget to bring them to the library. Of course, there are some “potential downsides(Why fingerprint based biometric systems are bad for you)”:http://www.ecogito.net/anil/2005/05/why-fingerprint-based-biometric.html.

Googling for Profit

Did you catch the buzz about how easy it is to use Google to find “unprotected web cameras(People like being a peeping tom from the Internet)”:http://www.geeknewscentral.com/archives/003600.html? It turns out there are some “much less innocuous(Google Hacking Digs Up Sensitive Material)”:http://www.lisnews.com/article.pl?sid=05/02/13/1138206 uses for Google.