Surveillance in the Stacks


Librarians have hard-won reputations as defenders of open information and patron privacy, but what about third-party providers of library services? Slate’s Future Tense explores some recent revelations from companies like Adobe, whose Digital Editions e-book software has been criticized for transmitting reader data in plain text—making it an easy target for surveillance by the government, and other private companies. It’s not hard to imagine nefarious uses for information about what people are reading, especially when they believe they’re safe from prying eyes; helping libraries take strong stands with their vendors is a key precaution to preserve the legacy of reading free of cost, and of fear.

Dinah Fay is a poet, copywriter, and social media maven living in Brooklyn. She is the co-host of the Brick City Speaks reading series in Newark, where she is pursuing an MFA in writing from Rutgers University. More from this author →