Opinion

Library hosts documentary in honor of Data Privacy Month

Data Privacy Month (Jan 28 – Feb 28) is an effort, led by the National Cyber Security Alliance in conjunction with Educause, to empower and educate people to protect their privacy, control their digital footprint and make the protection of privacy and data a great priority in their lives. Data flows freely in today’s online world. Everyone—from home computer users to multinational corporations—needs to be aware of the personal data others have entrusted to them and remain vigilant and proactive about protecting it.

In recognition of this occasion, the Macalester Library, in conjunction with Information Technology Services, in the interest of expanding community understanding of the current state of privacy is sponsoring a special viewing of the serious, but entertaining, documentary “Terms and Conditions May Apply.” Two viewings will be offered on Tuesday, February 25, both in the John B Davis auditorium: 1) 11:30 am -1:30 pm and 6:30-9:30 pm.

The message of this film is that our privacy is no longer in our hands, but in those of businesses. We are not “the customer” but rather “the product.” “Social listening” is the term used to describe how businesses gather your personal information in order to compile data with which to more effectively separate you from your dollar.

Admit it: you don’t really read the endless terms and conditions connected to every website you visit, phone call you make or app you download. But every day, billion-dollar corporations are learning more about your interests, your friends and family, your finances and your secrets… and are not only selling the information to the highest bidder, but freely sharing it with the government. And you agreed to all of it.

With fascinating examples and sometimes funny and occasionally hard-to-believe facts, this film illustrates what governments and corporations are legally taking from us every day—rendering uncertain the future of privacy and civil liberties. Furthermore, it shows how each of us has incrementally opted-in to a real-time surveillance state, click by click—and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Harry Pontiff and Terri Fishel
Information Security Officer Library Director

February 14, 2014

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