Under the dual leadership of SOIS faculty Joyce Latham and Michael Zimmer, the Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR) had one of its most active academic years during 2011-2012.
A key goal for CIPR this past year was to involve more faculty and students – both within the School of Information Studies and across campus – in CIPR activities, with the expectation of generating a collegial and collaborative environment for engaging in a range of approaches to information ethics and information policy. This was achieved, in part, through the formulation of a doctoral student reading group on the topic of “information power” with CIPR fellow Professor Sandra Braman (Department of Communication, UWM), as well as through hosting various brown bag lunches during the year, combining faculty and student presentations, which drew attendees from across campus.
CIPR also made available new Research Travel Awards in spring 2012, providing funds for members of the entire campus community engaging in research aligned with the center. Awards were granted to Wilhelm Peekhaus (assistant professor, SOIS), Christopher Terry (lecturer, Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies-UWM), and Jeremy Mauger (PhD student, SOIS). These awards, along with CIPR’s enhanced Web and email presence, increased its visibility across campus.
CIPR continued its commitment to information policy-related events across campus and within relevant academic and professional communities. During 2011-2012, CIPR helped sponsor numerous events, including the “Minding the Gaps: Wikileaks & Internet Security in the 21st Century” symposium hosted by the Center for 21st Century Studies, the Computer Ethics/Philosophical Enquiry (CEPE) conference, the WLA pre-conference on “Tell me What Democracy Looks Like”, the unconference on “Feminism in LIS”, the screening of “Big Brother, Big Business” for Choose Privacy Week, and the 2nd “Ethics in Information Organization” conference.
Along with Dr. Braman, CIPR hosted other distinguished scholars as visiting fellows. Dr. Loretta Gaffney(University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) and Dr. Jean Preer (Indiana University-Indianapolis) contributed their expertise in intellectual freedom and library ethics to the WLA pre-conference and related activities. CIPR also welcomed Dr. Luciano Floridi (University of Hertfordshire and the University of Oxford), the leading expert in the philosophy of information, who led discussions with SOIS PhD students on information ethics and the philosophy of information.
Lastly, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom awarded CIPR a grant to conduct a survey on “Librarian Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Informational Privacy” and participate in related privacy education and outreach activities funded through the OIF’s partnership with the Open Society Foundation.
Moving Forward in 2012-2013
In 2012-2013, CIPR will be directed by Assistant Professor Michael Zimmer, with Assistant Professor Latham focusing her efforts on SOIS’s Public Library Leadership Concentration. CIPR’s focus for the coming year will be on growing its research agenda through numerous projects and external grant applications.
CIPR will continue its partnership with the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and will concentrate on the development and evaluation of educational materials to help librarians teach patrons about privacy-related issues. Dr. Zimmer’s own research agenda, centered on issues of information privacy, intellectual property, and internet research ethics, will become incorporated into CIPR activities.
Additionally, CIPR plans to add a senior Research Fellow to assist with grant and research activities. Drawn from existing UW-Milwaukee faculty, the Fellow will join the intellectual community of CIPR to collaborate on research projects, jointly write research grant proposals, and provide informal mentoring to students. A key goal for the Research Fellow will be to collaborate on the creation of a new research project focused on “big data.”
CIPR saw much momentum in 2011-2012, and 2012-2013 looks to be another exciting and busy year at the Center.
The UW-Milwaukee Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR) is pleased to again offer a CIPR Student Award in Information Policy & Ethics, to sponsor one student (undergraduate, graduate or post-doc) for the Association of Internet Researchers IR 13 Conference in Salford, UK. The amount of the award is US$500.
The student’s research must focus on some aspect of information policy or ethics, and internet studies, broadly conceived. The recipient must have an accepted paper at IR12 and must attend to present the research.
To apply, please send the following documents to Dr. Michael Zimmer, CIPR Director, at email@example.com:
- Accepted paper abstract
- Curriculum Vitae
- Brief statement describing how the paper/research will make an impact on the fields of information policy, ethics, and/or internet studies
Application deadline is August 31, 2012. Notification of award will be received by September 15.
The recipient should acknowledge the CIPR grant at IR13.
The Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR) is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s multidisciplinary research center for the study of the intersections between the policy, ethical, political, social and legal aspects of the global information society. It is directed by Dr. Michael Zimmer, Assistant Professor in theSchool of Information Studies.
Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Social Studies of Information
School of Information Studies
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is accepting applications for aPostdoctoral Fellowship in the Social Studies of Information for the 2012-2013 academic year, to work closely with the School’s newly established Social Studies of Information Research Group (SSIRG).
The postdoctoral fellowship is designed for recent PhDs who are interested in research and pedagogy in the historical, social and cultural dimensions of information at its most fundamental levels, including information institutions, practices, industries, technologies, disciplines, users, policies, and ethics.
Along with continuing their own research agenda, the fellow will work closely with SSIRG-affiliated faculty, assist in coordination of SSIRG speaker series and related events, work with current PhD students, and participate in the academic and intellectual community of the School at large. Opportunities will exist for the fellow to collaborate with the Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR), Center for 21st Century Studies (C21) and other related campus centers and institutes.
The stipend for the fellowship will be $39,000 for a 12-month appointment beginning in August 20, 2012, with a $2,000 research and travel stipend. Fellows will be expected to teach one course each semester, with the opportunity to develop a course focused on their own research area. Fellows are eligible for benefits. The stipend for this position is subject to UW System policies.
- Applicants must be scholars who are not yet tenured and who are no more than 3 years past receiving their PhD.
- Applicants must hold a PhD in information studies or related discipline. Applicants who do not yet hold a PhD but expect to have it by August 2012 will be asked to provide a letter from their home institution corroborating the degree award schedule. Verification of completion of degree will be required before the start date.
- Application packages must include: letter explaining research agenda and teaching interests; a 1-page statement of situating their personal research within the broader interdisciplinary contexts of the social studies of information; a curriculum vitae; a writing sample; and 3 references.Deadline for application is June 1, 2012. Candidates selected for online interviews will be notified by June 15, 2012.
- Send all application materials via email to Dr. Michael Zimmer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information, please contact Dr. Zimmer, and visit us at http://www4.uwm.edu/sois/.
UWM is an AA/EEO Employer
In celebration of Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association‘s Office for Intellectual Freedomhas released preliminary findings from a new survey on “Librarian Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Informational Privacy” that Michael Zimmer, Director of the Center for Information Policy Research, conduced on their behalf with generous support from the Open Society Foundation. The press release with preliminary results is copied below; the full results will be published later this year.
New survey confirms librarians’ commitment to protecting privacy rights
For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/01/2012 – 15:55
Contact: Jennifer Petersen
Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)
CHICAGO – In conjunction with Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) released preliminary findings from a new survey measuring librarians’ views on privacy rights and protecting library users’ privacy.
The survey, which builds on an earlier 2008 survey assessing librarians’ attitudes about privacy, provides important data that will help ALA evaluate the state of privacy in the United States and libraries’ role in protecting library users’ privacy. The data will help guide ongoing planning for Choose Privacy Week and similar initiatives aimed at engaging librarians in public education and advocacy to advance privacy rights.
Some of the highlights from the 2012 survey include:
- Librarians remain concerned about privacy and individuals’ desire to control access and use of personal information. Ninety-five percent agree or strongly agree that individuals should be able to control who sees their personal information, and more than 95 percent of respondents feel government agencies and businesses shouldn’t share personal information with third parties without authorization and should only be used for a specific purpose.
- Librarians affirmed their commitment to the profession’s long-standing ethic of protecting library users’ privacy. Nearly 100 percent of respondents agreed that “Libraries should never share personal information, circulation records or Internet use records with third parties unless it has been authorized by the individual or by a court of law,” and 76 percent feel libraries are doing all they can to prevent unauthorized access to individual’s personal information and circulation records. Overall, nearly 80 percent feel libraries should play a role in educating the general public about privacy issues.
- When compared to the 2008 survey, the results showed that the responses given by the 2012 respondents generally mirrored those of the 2008 respondents, with data showing a slight decline in the level of concern over privacy. For example, in both surveys, the vast majority (95 percent in 2008, 90 percent in 2012) of respondents expressed concern that “companies are collecting too much personal information about me and other individuals.” However those who “strongly” agreed dropped from 70 percent in 2008 to only 54 percent in 2012.
The 2012 survey also revealed some limitations in libraries’ handling of privacy issues. While nearly 80 percent of the responding librarians said libraries should play a role in educating the general public about privacy, only 13 percent said their library had hosted a privacy information session, lecture, seminar or other event addressing privacy and surveillance. Similarly, while 100 percent agree that libraries should not release library records without a court order, only 51 percent indicate that their libraries offer training on handling requests for user records and only 57 percent indicate that their libraries effectively communicate the library’s privacy policies to their patrons.
The 2012 study is funded by a generous grant from the Open Society Foundations and is managed by Dr. Michael Zimmer, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies, and co-director of its Center for Information Policy Research.
The survey is part of ALA’s Choose Privacy Week and “Privacy for All” initiative, which conducted with the generous support of the Open Society Foundations. Its website, www.privacyrevolution.org, provides access to privacy-related news, information and programming resources.
The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week in 2010 to help libraries work with their communities in navigating these complicated but vital issues. It is a national public awareness campaign that aims to educate the public about their privacy rights and to deepen public awareness about the serious issue of government surveillance. The theme for Choose Privacy Week 2012 is “Freedom from Surveillance.”
For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit www.privacyrevolution.org or contact Jennifer Petersen, ALA PR coordinator at (312) 280-5043, email@example.com.
SOIS PhD student Adriana McCleer recently won “best poster” at Student Research Day for her preliminary analysis of the following case study:
The Dismantling of Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program: A Case Study and Critical Analysis
The Mexican American Studies (MAS) program began as a 1998 grassroots community effort to address the Latino academic achievement gap in Tucson. It flourished into a Tucson Unified School District’s (TUSD) curriculum rooted in cultural relevance, critical thought, social justice, and academic rigor. The Mexican American perspective was centered in the classroom through history, literature, and art. This program has received national recognition in the field of education and has documented notable success in student achievement.
Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-111 “Declaration of policy” and § 15-112 “Prohibited courses and classes; enforcement” laws were enacted with the intention to dismantle the TUSD MAS program. The program was ruled in violation of the law and in January 2012, the governing board of TUSD suspended all MAS courses and subsequently removed textbooks and course materials from classrooms.
This exploratory case study uses Critical Race Theory as a framework to investigate the dismantling of the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program in Arizona. The study investigates the suspension of courses and organized removal of educational materials as a restriction of intellectual freedom and act of censorship to formulate research questions for additional studies.
A literature review examines works on the topics of Critical Race Theory, the TUSD MAS curriculum and pedagogy, ethnic studies, and intellectual freedom and censorship in schools. Data collection includes document analysis of news articles, legal documents, government and community websites, press releases, and official statements from Arizona Department of Education, State Superintendents of Public Instruction, and TUSD.
In Critical Race Theory, Delgado & Stefancic (2012) outline the nationalistic viewpoint that supports ethnic studies and questions “the majoritarian assumption that northern European culture is superior” (p. 67). The text also illuminates the power of counterstorytelling, or “writing that aims to cast doubt on the validity of accepted premises or myths, especially ones held by the majority” (p. 159). Challenges to the nationalistic viewpoint and the power of counterstorytelling are “Color-blind, or ‘formal’ conceptions of equality, expressed in rules that insist only on treatment that is the same across the board” (p. 8). This approach is focused on addressing only the most obvious and visible forms of discrimination, but does not address institutional or systemic injustices, particularly in the form of policy.
Arizona Revised Statute § 15-112(A)(4) does not allow classes to “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” This notion is rooted in the beliefs of Arizona Attorney General, Tom Horne, that “People are individuals, not exemplars of racial groups” (2010). He is consistent in his claims that ethnic studies is fundamentally wrong in that it segregates students and does not treat them as individuals. However, the provision of ethnic studies and the treatment of students as individuals are not mutually exclusive. The validation of counterstories celebrates the unique qualities and experiences of individuals. In contrast, the elimination of ethnic studies and promotion of color-blindness discounts and discredits the unique experiences people have had as individuals. By adopting a colorblind position, there is a strategic veiling of discrimination. In a 2009 critical discourse study of Tom Horne’s attack on MAS, Michael W. Simpson stated, “By asserting ‘We are not racists’ and ‘We are not a racist society’, the dominant group has exercised a strategy of defense against charges of racism and constructed and maintained the dominant white consensus” (2009, p. 24).
This study continues the exploration and analysis of the censorship of counterstories veiled by the promotion of color-blindness.
Delgado, R. & Stefancic, J. (2012). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (2nd ed.). New York: NYU Press.
Horne, T. (2010). Finding by the state superintendent of public instruction of violation by Tucson Unified School District pursuant to A.R.S. 15-112(B). Retrieved fromhttp://www.azag.gov/issues/TUSD%20%20Ethnic%20Studies%20Findings.pdf
Simpson, M. (2009). Tom Horne, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction verse Tucson Unified School District’s ethnic studies: A critical discourse study, 1-29. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1372387
[This opinion piece is presented by SOIS PhD student, Jeremy Mauger]
On April 10th, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington upheld a ruling that allows filtering software to deny adults the ability to access constitutionally protected speech in public libraries. TheCourt’s opinion suggests that the libraries in question are serving a “legitimate government interest” (1 at p. 6) by blocking adult access to protected speech, and are justified in doing so in order to comply with the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA).
Passed in 2000, CIPA requires that public libraries install filtering software in order to protect minors from harmful content while accessing the Internet. Specifically, CIPA mandates that any public library which receives federal funding for computers and Internet service must implement “…a technology protection measure with respect to any of its computers with Internet access that protects against…visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors” (2 at pp. 6-7). Fearing that this requirement would hinder the right of adult patrons to access constitutionally protected speech, the American Library Association filed a challenge to this law – a challenge that eventually came before the Supreme Court in 2003.
Although the Supreme Court did not find CIPA to be unconstitutional, it did acknowledge that such filtering may harm the right of adults to access protected speech if implemented incorrectly. Justice Kennedy “…concluded that if…a librarian will unblock filtered material or disable the Internet software filter without significant delay on an adult user’s request, there is little to this case…If some libraries do not have the capacity to un-block specific Web sites or to disable the filter or if it shown that an adult user’s election to view constitutionally protected Internet material is burdened in some other substantial way, that would be the subject for an as-applied challenge” (3 at pp. 3-4).
[Ed – changes have been made to this paragraph for clarification; see comments below] The opportunity for such a challenge arose in 2006 when
Sarah Bradburn, an adult patron adult patrons of the North Central Regional Library District (NCRL) was were denied access to a websites containing constitutionally protected material. The NCRL, an association of 28 participating libraries, currently employs FortiGuard filtering software in order to comply with the requirements of CIPA and has previously used SmartFilter (Bess edition). In this instance, FortiGuard blocked Ms. Bradburn from viewing the website of the Among others, the filter blocked plaintiff Charles Heinlen’s access to “womenandguns.com”. This website is published by the Second Amendment Foundation, a “Washington nonprofit corporation dedicated to issues associated with the constitutional right to keep and bear arms” (4 at p. 7). The content of this site is undoubtedly protected by the constitution but does not fall within the NCRL’s definition of material that is suitable for minor patrons in the context of CIPA and was blocked accordingly.
Ms. Bradburn and three other plaintiffs (including the Second Amendment Foundation) sued the library system, alleging that the NCRL’s filtering policy violated the First Amendment rights of its adult patrons. However, despite the Supreme Court’s explicit suggestions to the contrary, on May 6, 2010 the Supreme Court for the State of Washington ruled that the NCRL had no obligation to disable Internet filters and allow access to constitutionally protected material. Specifically, the Washington Court ruled that “
…a public library may… filter Internet access for all patrons without disabling the filter to allow access to web sites containing constitutionally protected speech upon the request of an adult patron” (4 at pp. 29-30, Emphasis Added).
This decision, as noted above, was recently upheld by the Federal Court. The Circuit Court concluded that “Blocking Internet sites and pages that contain constitutionally-protected material deemed suitable only for adults helps ensure that the environment at NCRL libraries is consistent with its mission of providing learning and research opportunities for individuals of all ages. This is a legitimate government interest…The Court acknowledges that this process may frustrate some adult patrons…[However,] because NCRL’s Policy, including not disabling the Internet filter at the request of an adult patron, is reasonable, there is no overbreadth or impermissible content-based First Amendment violation” (1 at pp. 5-6).
This is an extraordinary extension of the Supreme Court’s ruling. It bears repeating that the Supreme Court’s decision requires that the constitutional application of CIPA must include the immediate unblocking of Internet filters at the request of an adult patron. As Justice Kennedy noted, the law ceases to be constitutional “…if it is shown that an adult user’s election to view constitutionally protected material is burdened in some…substantial way” (3 at p. 4).
It seems clear in this instance that adult access to protected speech has been substantially burdened. The NCRL has misinterpreted the requirements of CIPA while the courts have extended and misapplied the law. The NCRL’s filtering policy and subsequent rulings in the Bradburn case have limited the ability of adult patrons to access constitutionally protected material on public library computers. It has also confined adult access to only those materials deemed to be suitable for children within the constraints of CIPA. Internet filtering through CIPA was never intended to constrict adult access in this manner. It was solely meant to shield minors from harmful content, not to create a burden on the right of adults to freely receive constitutionally protected speech.
- Bradburn et al v. North Central Regional Library District, 2:06-cv-00327-EFS (2006). United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington; April 10, 2012.
- Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), Title XVII, Pub. L. No. 106-554 (2000).
- United States v. American Library Association, 539 U.S. 194 (2003).
- Bradburn et al v. North Central Regional Library District, 2:06-cv-00327-EFS (2006). Washington State Supreme Court, No. 82200-0; May 6, 2010.
** Unfortunately this event has been canceled. We will announce a new date once it has been rescheduled. Apologies for any inconvenience. **
CIPR welcomes UW-Milwaukee Department of Geography professor Dr. Rina Ghose, who will discuss her research on the social and policy dimensions of geographic information systems:
“Bridging the Geospatial Divide through Public Participation GIS”Geographic Information Systems is a powerful technology that analyzes geospatial data and is used prolifically in public and private sector. GIS has been used for over four decades for planning and policy making activities. GIS today is a globally dominant technology, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has provided $200 million for the Big Data Initiative that emphasizes mining large spatial datasets and use of GIS. Yet GIS can be ethically criticized for being an elitist technology by virtue of its technological complexity and cost. A digital divide in GIS exists along class and race lines, whereby traditionally marginalized citizens have been excluded from using the technology. The question of democratizing GIS has been a primary goal in the GIS and Society research agenda. This presentation addresses the thorny issue of uneven access to GIS and the associated social power it confers. Following the principle that effective usage of information leads to better citizen participation in planning and policy making activities, Public Participation GIS has emerged as a strong research agenda and practice that has enabled marginalized citizens to integrate their local, experiential knowledge with public data sets, and use the technology to contest hegemonic power relations. This is a global research agenda that emphasizes not only an easy access to spatial data, but also the creation of user friendly, inexpensive/free GIS. PPGIS research and practice are widely undertaken in developing and developed countries, addressing both environmental and urban planning activities. Drawing upon my decade long PPGIS research among inner-city neighborhoods in Milwaukee, I aim to unpack the complex narrative of spatial knowledge production for effective participation of marginalized citizens into inner-city revitalization planning programs.
This CIPR research lunch is May 4, 2012 from noon-1:30pm, in Northwest Quadrant Building B, room 3511.Lunch will be provided by the School of Information Studies.
** Unfortunately this event has been canceled. We will announce a new date once it has been rescheduled. Apologies for any inconvenience. **
Join the Center for Information Policy Research and the UWM Libraries for a special screening of the short documentary film “Big Brother, Big Business: The Data-Mining and Surveillance Industries” in celebration of Choose Privacy Week, an annual initiative of the American Library Association that invites the public into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age.
The event is free and open to the public:
Following the film, a panel of privacy advocates will discuss its implications, including:
- Emilio De Torre, Youth and Program Director, ACLU of Wisconsin
- Stacy Harbaugh, Communications Director, ACLU of Wisconsin
- Angela Maycock, Assistant Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association
- Michael Zimmer, Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Center for Information Policy Research, School of Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee
Please join the Center for Information Policy Research for a CIPR Brown Bag Research Lunch on Thursday, April 12, 2012 featuring SOIS PhD student Liza Barry-Kessler, who will present:
“GrandFamily Housing with a Branch Library: A Case Study in Mixed-Use Development at the Milwaukee Public Library”
On October 15, 2011, the Milwaukee Public Library, in partnership with Gorman & Company and the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation, officially opened the new Villard Square Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library. Although only a block from the previous Villard Avenue Branch library, the new space could not be more different from the old. The new library building is based on an innovative model of mixed use facilities: the building houses a library on the ground floor, and 47 apartments on three stories above for families where grandparents are the primary caregivers for their grandchildren. This case study will explain how the Milwaukee Public Library came to create this unusual space, how critical decisions launching the project were made, who made them, and how the shared space and proximity to this very distinct community of families, is working for the library staff, as well as leadership and the Board of Trustees.
Thursday April 12, 2012, 12:30pm
Northwest Quadrant, Building B, Room 3511
We intend to hold informal research lunches (bring your own lunch) a few times each semester, to provide a space for faculty, students, staff, and friends interested in information policy and ethics (conceived of broadly) to share research — both finished and in progress.
If you’d like to schedule a time to present, please contact Michael Zimmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CIPR Co-Director Joyce Latham will be presenting a keynote lecture at the UWM Libraries on Monday, March 19th, 11 am-12 pm, in W 190 (library instruction room B).
Professor Latham will be speaking about open inquiry through creation, support and delivery of the scholarly content in teaching and collaborative environments. After the keynote presentation, Suyu Lin, Scholarly Communications Librarian, will outline new perspectives in supportive partnership at the UWM Libraries. Refreshments will be served.
Svetlana Korolev, Janet Padway, Tyler Smith
On behalf of the UWM Libraries and the Libraries Staff Development Committee