by Christi Sommerfeldt, MLIS Canton, NY
As librarians, we are sensitive to privacy and confidentiality and pride ourselves in giving patrons the freedom and protection to access any and all information. Anything hindering or threatening that freedom interrupts our principles and obligation to patrons.
Lack of privacy and confidentiality chills users' choices, thereby suppressing access to ideas. The possibility of surveillance, whether direct or through access to records of speech, research and exploration, undermines a democratic society.1
In proprietary operating systems, back doors exist that allow the licensing company to make changes to the software without the user’s knowledge, which means that they can access other information as well. For instance, Apple’s iPhone has a back door allowing them to erase apps. Amazon’s Kindle has one allowing them to remotely erase books.2
Breaking away from proprietary operating systems and software is daunting and not many have the time or knowhow to successfully manage that choice. But there are those who make it a little more possible by providing free files and programs that allow users to accomplish the same tasks
1 "Privacy and Confidentiality." American Library Association, 2014. Web. 18 July 2014. <http://www.ala.org/