Facebook & Privacy?

Sarah Steiner, Learning Commons Librarian at Georgia State University, posted a link to the following video Does what happens in the Facebook stay in the Facebook?. The video makes interesting and disturbing claims about privacy concerns regarding the site Facebook. It quotes from the terms of service posted on Facebook, which I have to admit, I’ve never read. Here’s a quote.

“When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.” Facebook. 25.May.2007 http://colostatepueblo.facebook.com/terms.php

Naturally, I wanted to find out more about the validity of the claims presented in the video, so of course I googled the author. The video was created by Georgia web designer Vishal Agarwala (http://www.vishalagarwala.com/index.html). When I searched for his name, I ran across another post by Fred Stutzman on his blog, Unit Structures (here) that references this video. Stutzman points out seemingly contradictory statements in the Facebook Developer section of the site (which I couldn’t actually find myself). Some of the comments to Stutzman’s post include good counter arguments, especially refuting the allegations in the video about Facebook ties to the CIA and Department of Defense, which were provocative, but not well grounded in fact.

So what’s the bottom line? Well, it sounds like Facebook users grant Facebook the right to redistribute their user generated content, and Facebook promises to be ethical in its use of this content. Also, it requests that Facebook developers likewise respect user privacy. It sounds like Google’s “Do no harm” mantra. I suspect that most users, who like myself haven’t even read the terms of service, will only really become concerned about the possible privacy violations that could occur when they do occur. Until then, we’ll just keep posting with a refreshingly naive and trusting attitude. Be gentle with us Google and Facebook!

If you want to talk about this, sit with Ivan Gaetz (Dean of Libraries at Regis University) at lunch at the CALC Summit on June 1st. He will be facilitating a table talk regarding Privacy!


I’m Back!

Hi Everyone,

I’ve broken the cardinal rule of blogging, I know! Post frequently. But the truth is, for the last several weeks, I simply haven’t felt like saying anything. It’s been a tough time for all of us at our library lately. One of our staff members experienced a personal loss and it has been very devastating for all of us also. In addition, it’s the end of the semester and everything is due. You know what I’m talking about. In any case, I finally am motivated to post.

And what motivates me you ask? Why, doubling my space on pbwiki, that’s what. Did you know that educational wikis on pbwiki.com are ad free? Check it out. By posting about this on my blog, pbwiki says they will double our storage space. I’ll let you know what happens.

We’re getting closer to the date of the Colorado Academic Library Consortium Summit on May 31. If you haven’t signed up, hurry and reserve your seat. We have some awesome keynote speakers including Joan Lippincott and Carie Windham. http://www.clicweb.org/calc2007/

See you soon, Rhonda

I’m Back

Hi Everyone,

I came to work this morning and realized I hadn’t posted in quite a while. That doesn’t make for a very exciting Blog! Frankly, I just haven’t been making time lately to keep up with reading my daily blogroll postings. That’s usually where I get ideas on what to post. I’ve had a couple of short weeks, due to being out of town and taking a day off for Christmas shopping, so I guess I need to get back on schedule (which probably won’t happen until January 8, actually.)

Two weeks ago I attended a fantastic two day workshop hosted by CLiC called the Coaching Edge. It was very eye opening. I hadn’t really considered my relationships, both personal and professional, in terms of “coaching”. However, I realize now that many of my interactions with others including co-workers, employees, and even family members could be viewed in this light. The workshop validated some strategies I have already been using, albeit subconsciously and also taught some new approaches, which I think will be invaluable!

Last week, I spent one whole day meeting with our architects. We are getting close to finishing the program plan for our building renovation. We are looking at completely renovating the building and adding between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet to the building. The architects have been fabulous. We are working with Joe Bilotta from JBA, Inc., Patrick Johnson from H&L Architects, and Geoff Freeman from Shepley-Bulfinch. I have really appreciated their tenacity in getting us to think outside of our current “box” and not to be constrained by current practices. Some of the small changes we have already made to our building such as adding a coffee cart and more open student study spaces has already increased our building traffic by over 20%, so I feel confident that the plans we are working on to expand these offerings will be well-met by our patrons. We have agreed on a strategy of planning the new facility not based on traditional library functions so much as on levels of social interaction, levels of technology, and levels of support needed. Also, we are working to closely integrate ITS and academic support services with traditional library services to create a very organic student success focused space.

Today I met with other Colorado Academic Library Consortium members to continue planning for our 2nd Colorado Academic Library Summit to be held May 31st/June 1st in Denver. The topic, which I’m very excited about focus on changing landscapes in academic libraries and will include tracks on changing cultures and values within libraries, changing technologies, and the need for better outreach and collaboration. We are still working out the details including inviting speakers so I’ll give more details soon.

The rest of this week we are just winding down to Christmas break and trying to finish up book ordering and other collection projects. I also have to get my ACRL statistics done by Friday!!!

Best wishes for a Blessed Christmas!