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BC Library Conference 2020

T04 - Who’s Driving This Thing? Data-driven companies, public spaces, and the issue of privacy.

Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 9:00 AM–10:15 AM Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Meeting Room #4
Session Description

Generously sponsored by: BCGEU

Libraries, like all information-driven organisations, use digital tools to do our work and provide our services. However, these tools are usually provided by companies who collect and exploit user data for profit. These business models are examples of what scholars call “surveillance capitalism.” In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff calls this moment in time “the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight.” What does it mean to invite surveillance capitalism into the library, a refuge and resource for our most vulnerable community members? Is it time to give up our core value of protecting privacy, or do professional ethics require us to practice digital disobedience? Join a discussion that will problematize, explore, and propose a path through the current breakdown of boundaries between public service, market capitalism, and private life.


Curated by Samantha Mills, Vancouver Public Library

Samantha Mills (she/her), B.Ed., MLIS is Assistant Manager, Program Planning and Evaluation at Vancouver Public Library. She has worked at VPL for six years, in both Digital Services and Programming & Learning. She is passionate about supporting frontline library staff, and about connecting library patrons with the learning opportunities they need to improve and enrich their lives. She loves evangelizing about library services in non-traditional venues like comic cons and podcasts, and when she’s not at work you can find her traveling, cooking and playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Alexandra Wieland, Simon Fraser University

Alexandra Wieland (she/her) is an Information and Privacy Archivist at Simon Fraser University, where she manages the University’s protection of privacy program by providing education, training, and advisory services; coordinating responses to privacy breaches; and conducting privacy impact assessments. Alexandra’s research interests include privacy, freedom of information and recordkeeping, and personal archives. She holds a Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Robert McLelland, Simon Fraser University

Robert McLelland (he/him) is an Information and Privacy Archivist at Simon Fraser University, where he advises on access to information and privacy legislation, including coordinating freedom of information requests and conducting privacy impact assessments. He previously worked in a similar role for the Liquor Distribution Branch, and as archivist for the City of Delta. His research interests include privacy and access to information as a means to accountability. He holds a Master of Archival Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Janis McKenzie, Simon Fraser University Library

Janis McKenzie (she/her) is the User Experience Librarian at the Simon Fraser University Library, where her day-to-day work includes advocating for users, writing for the web, and helping to manage a large public-facing website. She has also worked as a manager, editor, writer, musician, and in radio, and has been a member of the BC User Experience Interest Group since 2015. Janis holds an MLIS and an MFA (Creative Writing), both from the University of British Columbia