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CIPR Hosts Team Meeting for “Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems”

Jun 15, 2017   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on CIPR Hosts Team Meeting for “Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems”

This week, CIPR hosted the first cross-institutional team meeting for the NSF EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant to pursue a research collaboration on “Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems: Practices and Contexts in the Netherlands and US“.

Participants were: Dr. Jessica Vitak, Priya Kumar, and Yuting Liao (University of Maryland); Dr. Jason Pridmore, Dr. Daniel Trottier, and Anouk Mols (Erasmus University); and Dr. Michael Zimmer and Katie Chamberlain Kritikos (UW-Milwaukee).

The US-based team reported on preliminary results from their study on privacy, mobile health, and fitness trackers, while the Dutch team reported on their initial study on privacy and mobile messaging apps. The two teams will next coordinate on a cross-cultural study of user interactions with intelligent digital personal assistants (such as Siri or Alexa). A stakeholder workshop is planned for summer 2018 in College Park, MD. Stay tuned for details!

IMLS Grant for “Library Values & Privacy in our National Digital Strategies”

Apr 18, 2017   //   by cipradmin   //   Featured, News, Projects  //  Comments Off on IMLS Grant for “Library Values & Privacy in our National Digital Strategies”

The Center for Information Policy Research has been awarded a National Leadership Grants for Libraries award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for the project “Library Values & Privacy in our National Digital Strategies: Field guides, Convenings, and Conversations.”

CIPR will be partnering with Data & Society, along with the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom and the New York Public Library, to host a national forum exploring what the library value of privacy means in the digital world. The forum will bring together library practitioners and administrators, along with technology, policy, and privacy experts, to establish a national roadmap for a digital privacy strategy for libraries. 

Along with the roadmap, the project will produce a series of field guides for librarians that clearly lay out important privacy and security issues. Field guides will include topics such as: privacy by design, internal library information systems, third-party library software systems, cloud-based library systems, public internet and wifi services, licensing of digital content, data security, government information requests, and social media strategies

CIPR director Dr. Michael Zimmer will be working with Bonnie Tijerina, a researcher at Data & Society, to facilitate the project. The award was one of 25 projects funded out of 90 applications.

New CIPR Project: Assessing the Implementation of CIPA-Mandated Internet Filtering in U.S. Public Libraries

Apr 2, 2017   //   by cipradmin   //   Featured, News  //  Comments Off on New CIPR Project: Assessing the Implementation of CIPA-Mandated Internet Filtering in U.S. Public Libraries

UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies professor Dr. Nadine Kozak and CIPR Director Dr. Michael Zimmer have received funding from the UW-Milwaukee “Research Growth Initiative” internal grant program to launch a new research project called: “Assessing the Implementation of CIPA-Mandated Internet Filtering in U.S. Public Libraries.”

From the project abstract:

Access to information is an essential human right and ensuring universal access to the internet has been recognized as a vital ingredient for fulfilling this human right. While libraries have emerged as a critical source of providing free internet access within the United States, legislation has threatened free and unfettered access to information online. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) mandates libraries filter internet access in certain circumstances. While many studies have assessed the efficacy of internet filters, we propose a large-scale investigation of how libraries are implementing CIPA-mandated filtering – along with the legal exception to remove the filters for adults on-demand – to better understand the impact of CIPA “as applied” within library settings.

We are particularly interested in investigating three central issues related to CIPA-mandating filtering. First, what kind of (formal and informal) procedures are in place at libraries to turn off internet filtering when requested by an adult patron; second, how do these procedures play out “on the ground” when librarians are faced with such patron requests; and third, what are the technical complexities in honoring such a request (i.e., can filtering software be modified for a particular computer only, can the filters be modified only for the specific need requested, can the modification be made at the physical location of the library in question, etc.).

To begin exploring these issues, our pilot study will focus on libraries within a 100-mile radius of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which are required to be CIPA-compliant due to the acceptance of E-Rate funding. We will conduct in-person, unstructured interviews with various institutional actors at each library, including the library director, staff librarians who receive requests from patrons to remove internet filters, and system administrators who maintain the filtering software. The interview questions will focus on gaining a better understanding of how particular libraries chose to apply for E-Rate funding and be required to filter internet access as well as an understanding of the process through which filtering software is turned off in the event that an adult patron requests it. In addition to creating publishable research, the initial interviews will inform the creation of a survey instrument to be used in a national survey of CIPA-compliance at U.S. libraries.

The project will be housed at the UW-Milwaukee Center for Information Policy Research, and will run from July 2017 through December 2018.

Zimmer appointed editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy

Jan 9, 2017   //   by cipradmin   //   News, Projects  //  Comments Off on Zimmer appointed editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy

CIPR director Michael Zimmer has been appointed Editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy (JIFP), published by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.

Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy incorporates many of the features of the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom. Readers will still read in each issue about the latest incidents of book banning in “censorship  dateline,” the latest court rulings in “from the bench,” legal controversies in “is it legal?” and, of course, “success stories.” New ALA intellectual freedom policies and reports to the ALA Council from the Intellectual Freedom Committee and the Freedom to Read Foundation will also continue to appear.

The new journal will add refereed essays and peer-reviewed articles on intellectual freedom and privacy, as well as book reviews, legal briefs and opinion pieces. The goal is to have JIFP at the center of discourse on intellectual freedom and privacy issues in libraries.

Zimmer Awarded NSF Grant for “Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems”

Sep 1, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   Featured, News  //  Comments Off on Zimmer Awarded NSF Grant for “Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems”

CIPR director Michael Zimmer has been awarded an NSF EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant to pursue a research collaboration with Dr. Jessica Vitak (University of Maryland) and Drs. Jason Pridmore and Daniel Trottier (Erasmus University) on “Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems: Practices and Contexts in the Netherlands and US“. Each of the institutions has won a separate research award for the collaboration.

From the award abstract:

The increasing ubiquity of mobile technologies creates unique privacy and surveillance challenges for users. These problems are global, but the way users, organizations, and governments approach these challenges varies based on cultural norms around privacy. This cross-cultural project evaluates how mobile users in the U.S. and the Netherlands think about and make decisions about their privacy when using mobile apps. The project’s primary goal is to inform both ways of thinking about privacy in the digital age and practical implementations that pertain to the digital self, with an emphasis on tensions between privacy, disclosure, mobility and surveillance. Furthermore, this study highlights privacy practices across different legal and cultural frameworks, providing important implications for broad-based policy decisions.

In collaboration with researchers at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, this project has three phases. Phase 1 develops a preliminary understanding of privacy awareness and practices across three emerging mobile ecosystems: health and fitness tracking (e.g., Fitbit), mobile messaging apps (e.g., Whatsapp), and intelligent digital personal assistants (e.g., Siri). Building on these findings, Phase 2 involves cross-cultural data collection and analysis using “privacy vignettes,” which allows for identification and comparison of individuals’ privacy norms across contexts and cultures. Phase 3 focuses on dissemination of findings to key stakeholders and policymakers, and building an international working group of researchers active in this space. The focus on unpacking how privacy is conceptualized and implemented across two countries with very different cultural conceptions of privacy expands our understanding of the contextual nature of mobile privacy—enabling an extension of Helen Nissenbaum’s work on privacy as contextual integrity—while also providing practical implications for researchers and designers employing a Privacy by Design framework.

This collaborative research grant was awarded from a joint call for proposals by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), seeking collaborations between US- and Netherlands-based researchers on research topics that fit the privacy research goals of NSF’s Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC) program. Only 5 awards were jointly made by both NSF and NWO.

Assisting Zimmer during this 2-year project will be Katie Chamberlain Kritikos, a SOIS PhD student, and a research assistant at the Center for Information Policy Research.

CIPR Research Lunch on “Libraries Promoting Peace” with Peter Lor

Aug 24, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   Events, News  //  Comments Off on CIPR Research Lunch on “Libraries Promoting Peace” with Peter Lor

Please join us for a CIPR Research Lunch on Sept 7, 2016, featuring Dr. Peter Lor

cipr-lor-header copy
Libraries Promoting Peace: Cherished Illusion or Opportunity for Action?

Dr. Peter Lor
Adjunct Professor, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
12:00 – 1:30pm
NWQB 3511

2025 E Newport Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Please bring your own lunch.
Refreshments and dessert will be provided by SOIS


It has long been assumed that libraries contribute to promoting peace. In the late 1940s the then newly established UNESCO made a big investment in developing public libraries worldwide on the basis of this assumption, which has a long history and still resonates with librarians today. After all, we provide information about “other” nations, communities, groups, beliefs, and orientations. Information is assumed to contribute to knowledge, understanding, tolerance, and peace. This is a long string of causal assumptions. It should be challenged.

In this presentation Peter Lor briefly examines the assumptions and what is meant by “promoting peace” before outlining a set of seven roles for librarians: informing, creating resources, promoting, educating, empowering, healing and advocating, with some illustrative examples of current library activities in various parts of the world.

Studio portrait of School of Information Studies faculty member Peter Lor.About Peter Lor:

Dr. Peter Lor is former National Librarian of South Africa and later Secretary General of IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. During 2009-2011 he was a visiting professor at SOIS. Dr. Lor is currently an Extraordinary Professor at the University of South Africa, and also teaches INFOST 891, International and Comparative Librarianship, as an adjunct professor for SOIS.

CIPR Welcomes Dr. Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda

Jul 20, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on CIPR Welcomes Dr. Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda

Kinder-KurlandaCIPR is pleased to welcome Dr. Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda, from the GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne, as a visiting scholar during July 2016.

Dr. Kinder-Kurlanda has been a postdoc researcher and head of the Secure Data Center at GESIS since 2012. Since 2016 she leads the newly formed team ‘Data Linking & Data Security’. Katharina received her Magistra Artium in cultural anthropology, computer science and history from Johann Wolfgang Goethe – University Frankfurt am Main in 2004 with a thesis on “Playing and programming computer games: Spiel als kulturelle Praxis”. From 2005 she had a PhD studentship in the EPSRC-funded interdisciplinary research and development project NEMO (Networked Embedded Models of Physical Work Activity) at Lancaster University in the UK, where she completed her PhD in 2009 with a thesis on ubiquitous computing. She then worked as a Postdoc Research Associate in the Department of Management Science at Lancaster University Management School, researching the Internet of Things within organizational contexts. Katharina currently teaches a course on Social Science Methodology in Web Science Research at the Institute for Web Science and Technologies at Koblenz University where she is an adjunct lecturer.

While visiting CIPR, Dr. Kinder-Kurlanda will be collaborating with CIPR Director Dr. Michael Zimmer on their edited book, “Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age: New Cases and Challenges”, and related research projects focused on the ethics of big data research.


Zimmer Participates in White House/NYU Event on Artificial Intelligence

Jul 13, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Zimmer Participates in White House/NYU Event on Artificial Intelligence

CIPR Director Michael Zimmer was an invited participant in a major public symposium on July 7, 2016, to address the near-term impacts of artificial intelligence technologies across social and economic systems. Hosted by The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and New York University’s Information Law InstituteAI Now: The Social and Economic Implications of Artificial Intelligence Technologies in the Near-Term focused on the challenges of the next five to 10 years, specifically addressing four themes: how AI will impact social inequality, labor, healthcare, and ethics. Leaders from industry, academia, and civil society shared ideas for technical design, research, and policy directions. The event sought to amplify the voices of those with significant insight and experience across the four areas, with the goal of building new bridges across different communities. Collectively, the group considered the potential benefits and challenges of AI technologies, and analyzed how to ensure AI is built for equality of opportunity.

Zimmer Discusses OkCupid Data Release and Ethics of Big Data Research

May 31, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   News  //  Comments Off on Zimmer Discusses OkCupid Data Release and Ethics of Big Data Research

A group of Danish researchers, led by Aarhus University graduate student Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, recently publicly released a dataset of nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid, including usernames, age, gender, location, what kind of relationship (or sex) they’re interested in, personality traits, and answers to thousands of profiling questions used by the site.

When asked whether the researchers attempted to anonymize the dataset, Kirkegaard replied bluntly: “No. Data is already public.” This sentiment is repeated in the accompanying draft paper, “The OKCupid dataset: A very large public dataset of dating site users,” posted to the online peer-review forums of Open Differential Psychology, an open-access online journal also run by Kirkegaard:

Some may object to the ethics of gathering and releasing this data. However, all the data found in the dataset are or were already publicly available, so releasing this dataset merely presents it in a more useful form.

To those concerned about privacy, research ethics, and the growing practice of publicly releasing large data sets, this logic of “but the data is already public” is an all-too-familiar refrain used to gloss over thorny ethical concerns,.

In response to this problematic data release, CIPR director Michael Zimmer published an editorial in Wired: OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils Of Big-Data Science” (Wired, May 14, 2016). He states, in part:

The OkCupid data release reminds us that the ethical, research, and regulatory communities must work together to find consensus and minimize harm. We must address the conceptual muddles present in big data research. We must reframe the inherent ethical dilemmas in these projects. We must expand educational and outreach efforts. And we must continue to develop policy guidance focused on the unique challenges of big data studies. That is the only way can ensure innovative research—like the kind Kirkegaard hopes to pursue—can take place while protecting the rights of people an the ethical integrity of research broadly.

Zimmer also appeared on the WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio show Lake Effect to discuss “Big Data Research Creates Ethical Concerns”, noting that:

So when a researcher like this says, ‘Well this stuff was already public,’ what he kind of really means is like, ‘This stuff was visible to other users who happen to also create a profile,’ and those aren’t the same thing,” says Zimmer. “Psychologically I think it’s important for users when they sign up for this thing to have this assumption, or these set of expectations, that I know this data is kind of public but it’s meant for this community… Doing this kind of research sometimes violates that assumption.

Choose Privacy Week 2016 Webinar: Raising Privacy Awareness in Your Library and in Your Community

Mar 24, 2016   //   by cipradmin   //   Events, News  //  Comments Off on Choose Privacy Week 2016 Webinar: Raising Privacy Awareness in Your Library and in Your Community

CIPR director Michael Zimmer will be contributing to an American Library Association (ALA) webinar on “Raising Privacy Awareness in Your Library and in Your Community” in preparation for Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7, 2016).

From the ALA’s announcement:

Is ALA_ChoosePrivacy_186x292-2016Byour library preparing to observe Choose Privacy Week 2016? Join the ALA’s IFC Privacy Subcommittee and the Office for Intellectual Freedom for a free webinar that will offer solid guidance on developing privacy programming that will educate and engage your library users and provide an update on current privacy issues confronting libraries today.

The webinar will also offer brief introductions to resources on students’ and minors’ privacy and a guide to free and low-cost print and online resources that can support your library’s observance of Choose Privacy Week. Online registration is available via this link: http://ow.ly/ZbbOW

Choose Privacy Week is the American Library Association’s annual, week-long event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights.  Choose Privacy Week, May 1 – 7, 2016, also celebrates libraries and librarians’ unique role in protecting privacy in the library and in society as a whole. For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit https://chooseprivacyweek.org.