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.
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.
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.