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Comment Re:Library computers even worse (Score 2) 147

Librarians do not work for the government. That's slander, that is.

after a bunch of government requests on lender history, libraries started routinely destroying the record after the book is returned.

That was an excellent opportunity for you to offer citations, but, even if you have any, it may be smoke up your (and mine) eyes to make us believe, library computers are saf — because of the heroic librarians. I'd just use tor.

"RESOLVED, That the American Library Association urges all libraries to adopt and implement patron privacy and record retention policies that affirm that "the collection of personally identifiable information should only be a matter of routine or policy when necessary for the fulfillment of the mission of the library" (ALA Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights); and, be it further

RESOLVED, That the American Library Association considers sections of the USA PATRIOT Act are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users and urges the United States Congress to:

provide active oversight of the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act and other related measures, and the revised Attorney General Guidelines to the Federal Bureau of Investigation;

hold hearings to determine the extent of the surveillance on library users and their communities; and amend or change the sections of these laws and the guidelines that threaten or abridge the rights of inquiry and free expression..."


"The library will do its utmost to uphold the privacy and confidentiality of patrons’ free access to information. The library follows the laws and library policies to control behavior that involves public safety or criminal behavior.

Does the “Patriot Act” Change Things?

Yes, and this is a dilemma for the North Adams Public Library. The library has the responsibility of protecting the privacy of its patrons while responding to national security concerns.

Should library records be requested under the USA Patriot Act, the law states that in certain circumstances, library staff cannot inform the person about whom the information is requested, cannot speak to co-workers, the media or other government officials about the inquiry. Such requests, should they occur, may only be reported to the appropriate higher authority within the library. Under the USA PATRIOT Act, failure to comply with the search warrant, or of other applicable terms of those acts, is a felony.


The NAPL Procedures Regarding Information Access and Confidentiality


Once a search has been conducted, the software does not retain a copy of the search, and therefore no record of the search will exist.


Patrons use their library card to check out a computer but the record of this use is cleared when the next person logs on to the computer. When the patron logs off the Gates computers the software erases all history of their research and activity. The Dell computers keep the history for 24 hours after a patron has logged off.


When a hold is placed on a patron’s account, by the patron or a library staff member, the system creates a link to that item. No long-term record of the hold is retained by C/WMARS beyond the point of the circulation transaction.


Interlibrary Loan Records: These transactions are for requested items that do not appear in the C/W MARS network libraries. The NAPL tracks these items until they are returned to the owning library then all paper records are destroyed.


"In protecting the privacy rights and the confidentiality rights of library users, librarians, staff, educators, volunteers, and trustees should limit the degree to which personally identifiable information is monitored, collected, disclosed, and distributed while fulfilling their duty to comply with their state’s library confidentiality statute"


"Circulation Records: Data matching items with patrons is stored on the LINKcat system while the material is checked out to the patron. When an item is returned and any fees and fines are paid, it is removed from the borrower's file but a link from the item to the borrower is maintained until the item is loaned to the next borrower, or 30 days elapse." http://www.madisonpubliclibrar...

"10. The Library does not maintain a history of what a library user has previously checked out once books and materials have been returned on time." (

Comment Re:3 laws deleted (Score 1) 180

The Three Laws of Robotics IIRC were actually something John W. Campbell thought up on the fly in a meeting with the young Asimov, giving them to him as a story challenge. It is interesting how what was basically a quick and dirty plot device has become so firmly entrenched in the general consciousness that so many people think they're real.

Comment Re:1984 (Score 1) 148

As I recall in Max Headroom it was illegal to turn off your television. Some people got a bit of respite by throwing a blanket over their set. This was to ensure you kept watching, it didn't have anything to do with the system's surveillance capabilities, whose only obvious manifestation I think was that Max could see and hear through any monitor. Of course in the quaint world of twenty minutes into the future, the set had to be on. Now, we know that that's just silly.

Comment Re:"educational" is not "fair use" (Score 2) 268

The big problem is, you can do all your due diligence and claim Fair Use in your usage of copyrighted material, but Fair Use doesn't actually exist until someone sues you for infringement and loses because a judge agrees with you. If you cannot defend yourself in court, you only have Fair Use until you lose an infringement suit.

Comment Re:TPB legit? (Score 1) 97

Copy machines in libraries tend to be out of sight of the librarian's station. This is so the librarian can't see if you're violating someone's copyright by copying entire works rather than a few fair-use pages. There will probably be a warning against copyright infringement posted on or near the machine itself. This way, the liability is yours as the copier, and not the librarian's/library's, as the "facilitator" of the copying. A lame solution to a lame problem, but the alternative is no copiers, which would lead to an unending stream of complaints that there are no copiers.

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