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Apr 15, 2015

IMLS funds Digital Privacy & Data Literacy partnership


(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0-licensed photo by Theen Moy.)

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is supporting a Data & Society partnership with Brooklyn Public Library, METRO, and New America to focus on data and privacy literacy by providing in-person education to librarians in metropolitan New York City and resources to librarians across the country.

Libraries have served in a critical role in providing free access to the web. Key challenges cited often are accessibility, speed and affordability, but too often missing are a host of critically important privacy considerations. The extent of government surveillance programs, differential treatment of online consumers (data profiling), and the need for protection of sensitive personal data have ramped up the urgency of addressing these matters.

In response to this need, the Digital Privacy & Data Literacy project is a training program that will train 600+ information and library professionals in the New York metropolitan area. Building from and in a parallel to this NY-area focused effort, the project will build a set of online resources. Digital Privacy & Data Literacy training and online resources will both provide an overview of how information travels and is shared online, common risks encountered online by users and the importance of digital privacy and literacy.

At Data & Society, Bonnie Tijerina will lead in the creation of the project’s online resource, a site dedicated to providing educational videos, information, and a broader engagement with privacy and security experts and organizations. Seeta Peña Gangadharan (fellow at Data & Society and Senior Research Fellow at New America) will serve as a project consultant and oversee the creation of the curriculum, develop and distribute evaluation materials, review results from the evaluations, share the results with other project partners, and prepare and publish data from the project. In addition, Data & Society will work directly to engage digital privacy and security experts to provide commentary and time-of-need answers to privacy-related questions.

This partnership, led by the library community, is an opportunity to bring together organizations and individuals who are concerned about the impact of surveillance and data collection on citizens, specifically on disadvantaged communities, as well as to further strengthen libraries’ status as trusted gateways to information and knowledge.

For more information about the Digital Privacy & Data Literacy project, contact Bonnie Tijerina at bonnie at datasociety dot net.