Monday, July 3, 2017

Security Pros, Librarians Holding Digital Privacy Clinics Across U.S.; Consumer Reports, June 28, 2017

Andrew Chaikivsky, Consumer Reports; Security Pros, Librarians Holding Digital Privacy Clinics Across U.S.

"Librarians as Privacy Coaches
Workshops such as Mitchell’s are often called “crypto parties” in reference to cryptography, a field of math and computer science that underlies digital security.

The idea was launched in 2012 as a grassroots movement, and since then hundreds of crypto parties have been held worldwide, including events in at least 26 states. The clinics teach everything from how to lock down a smartphone to methods for limiting online tracking by marketers. Attendees are urged to bring their laptops and phones. “No chips, dip, awesome music, or drinks,” Mitchell says. “Just food for the mind.”

These workshops are free, and you can find a list of upcoming events online. People who can't find a crypto party in their community may be able to learn about digital security at their public library.

“Libraries do a lot of digital training, and part of learning how to use a computer is making decisions about your online privacy,” says Mike Robinson, chairman of the Intellectual Freedom Committee’s privacy group at the American Library Association. “We don’t tend to call them crypto parties,” he says, “but in essence it’s what they are.”
If your library doesn’t yet offer this sort of training, Alison Macrina, a former technology librarian in Watertown, Mass., who co-wrote a self-published guide to online privacy called “We Are All Suspects,” suggests that you ask at the reference desk. “Libraries are incredibly quantitative and data-driven. If people call or ask, librarians can better show the board of directors or administrators that there’s a big interest in it and a need for this.”"

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