For the past two months in the mail I have been receiving a catalog from the Republic of Tea along with a free sample of tea. I thought, lucky little ole me to receive something for free in the mail that I actually like. After the ALA presentation on privacy (I swear, it didn’t occur to me before then) I’m receiving the ‘free’ tea in the mail because I purchase it at the grocery store during lunch breaks next door to my library. Freedom at the cost of selling my information perhaps. What are we willing to give our information for? Sometimes we might not feel we have a choice or know that we do.

A few things I pulled from this presentation with Cory Doctorow, Dan Roth, and Beth Givens in regards to teens is that: before we think of teens in regards to online privacy as a generation that shares everything, I think we need to think of the ways that we give our private information freely-whether it’s to obtain a card at the grocery store that tracks what we buy to giving us a ‘discount’ on items (or as Miss Zukas, the Librarian detective would say, she was overcharged) in order to gain something in return isn’t that far removed from how we might think the majority of teens share their information online. Also, my experience with teens at my library sharing their private information has been one of them asking me why they need to give out all the info. that’s asked of them when signing up for an online account for Teen Second Life.

I point to the privacy policy, which is good to know, but at the same time, they are so smart to question why and what is done with their information. For more in depth info. on the privacy discussion panel, visit the Loose Cannon Librarian’s blog post here , the Shifted Librarian’s post here or David Lee King’s blog here. Also, check out these resources that were handouts during the presentation: Privacy 2.0: Take the Survey and the Freedom to Read Foundation website. A fun element of the panel presentation, which was titled, Privacy, Is it Time for a Revolution? was that there was a photo shoot right before the presentation of people dressed up in Revolutionary War clothes. What a great idea for promoting the program! Photo courtesy of devillibrarian.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

One Thought on “Privacy Discussion at ALA

  1. “before we think of teens in regards to online privacy as a generation that shares everything…”

    It’s also important to realize that this can be a total misperception–the Pew Institute reports that teens are more likely than adults to restrict access to their photos and videos online. (I’m still waiting for them to do a report on social networking privacy settings.)

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