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LIBLICENSE-L  February 2014

LIBLICENSE-L February 2014

Subject:

Re: Book publishing privacy policies

From:

LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

LibLicense-L Discussion Forum <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 16 Feb 2014 19:19:11 -0500

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From: Joseph Esposito <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 20:26:58 -0500

I was recently made aware of a tool called Ghostery
(http://ghostery.com) that shows you all the tracking devices used
when you visit a Web site.  My thanks to Gary Price for pointing this
tool out to me.  (Follow Gary @infodocket.)

I just began to play with Ghostery and have found some surprising
items.  My plan is to use it with a couple dozen university presses to
see what kind of tracking mechanisms they use, perhaps unknowingly.  I
am not picking on the U. press community, which I admire.  I am doing
this to explore what it means to sell books directly from Web sites
and what kind of privacy issues are raised by such sales.  I would
welcome comments about this, whether online or off.

In my first foray with Ghostery I went to all the major Internet sites
(Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, etc.).  The number of trackers is very
high, as you would expect.  Nothing on the Google site, though.  I
don't understand why.  The NY Public Library site has 3 trackers.  Is
that good or bad?  I don't yet know how to evaluate this.

My gut feeling is that those of us who work in or around
not-for-profit organizations (most of my consulting time now is spent
with NFPs) have to begin to work on these emergent privacy issues.  I
don't have strong feelings about these issues one way or the other,
but, gosh, I would like to know about them.

Joe Esposito


On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 2:48 PM, LIBLICENSE <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> From: Ken Masters <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Thu, 13 Feb 2014 07:50:51 +0100
>
> Hi All
>
> I think Joe is correct.  And I think part of the reason is that, in
> huge organisations, so much responsibility has been handed over to IT
> staff, that very little of what they do is known to senior management
> (apart from the IT staff who serve in senior management, of course).
>
> This is a very real problem, because senior management tends to
> classify everything to do with computers as "IT stuff," and fails to
> see that what their IT staff does reflects directly on the
> institution, especially when institutional ethics are involved.   In
> this case, the IT staff will know that they are collecting data, but
> it is likely that the senior management don't know about it.  (For
> example, how many librarians on this list have ever asked their IT
> staff about what information they are gathering on their users, how,
> where and for how long the data are stored, and discussed the ethics
> of that?).
>
> To answer your question regarding instances of tracking by
> organisations: I don't know of any, but the study of such tracking by
> medical organisations that I mentioned in my previous mail can be
> found at http://ispub.com/IJMI/6/2/14386
>
> I attempted to follow up on that study by surveying the medical
> organisations, trying to get their opinion on how much they knew about
> the data gathering, and how this fitted in with medical ethics (given
> that there was almost no informed consent on the data gathering).  I
> received a 1% responses rate, so, obviously, could not publish
> anything.  Apart from normal low response rates to surveys, I would
> think that the non-response rate probably had to do with
> organisations' closing ranks, or, because it would have been seen as
> "IT stuff," would have been forwarded to the IT dept, and they
> certainly would not have responded.
>
> Regards
>
> Ken
>
> ------
>
> Dr. Ken Masters
> Asst. Professor: Medical Informatics
> Medical Education Unit
> College of Medicine & Health Sciences
> Sultan Qaboos University
> Sultanate of Oman
> E-i-C: The Internet Journal of Medical Education

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