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ALA’s Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7)

lock imposed on data

May 2, 2014

The Heartbleed bug, the Internet Explorer security flaw, changes to Facebook’s privacy settings, credit card breaches at major retail stores; all are examples of privacy and security breaches headlining local and nationals news. Since our lives are so connected to the Internet, it sometimes can feel like we don’t have a lot of control over our digital lives, and especially our privacy.

Choose Privacy Week is an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that focuses on digital privacy rights. It’s an invitation for libraries and library users to have a conversation about individual privacy rights in a digital age. While privacy has always been an important part of library services, the Choose Privacy Week is a relatively new endeavor for ALA. 2014 is the fifth year of the campaign.

Choose Privacy Week is also a good time for a refresher on ways you can help keep your information safe, especially if you are using a public computer. It’s good practice to make sure you are completely signed out of your email, social network accounts, or any other services where you enter a password before you log off completely from a public computer. Additionally, when you are selecting a password, make sure you are selecting a complex enough password that is still memorable. One way to do this is to select characters and numbers that will form a memorable statement. For example, "ILmcpl@14" would stand for "I love Marathon County Public Library," using the number 14 as a memorable number and a variation of upper and lower class letters.

Many of us are active on social networks, and while we share our birthdays on Facebook, photos of vacations on Instagram, and check-in to a favorite restaurant on Foursquare, it’s important to remember that we also need to protect our privacy.

Here are some of ALA’s tips for protecting your privacy on social media:

Do you want to set your profile to public or private? You probably want potential employers to see your LinkedIn profile and generate hits on search engines, so a public profile is a good option. You might not want the rest of the world to see your Facebook updates, and generally many users make these profiles accessible only to friends and family.

Review privacy settings on social media. Review your favorite social networks for changes to privacy policies and procedures. Usuall,y these setting are links or tabs labeled Settings, Profile, or Privacy.

Remember, once you put something on the internet, it will remain on the internet. Some sites will archive photos or status updates you delete, so keep that in mind. Often celebrities will delete photos or tweets from Twitter they posted only to see them resurface as a screenshot on a blog.

Want some more information about the Heartbeed bug, the Internet Explorer security flaw, Privacy Week, or Marathon County Public Library’s privacy policies?

Heartbleed Bug

Internet Explorer Flaw (including information on the update to address the flaw)

Privacy Week

Marathon County Public Library’s privacy policies

Libraries Technology Websites

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