Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Technology and Politics Weave a Tangled Web

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Technology and Politics Weave a Tangled Web

Article excerpt

Politics can be a very complicated topic. So can technology. If you put the two together--watch out! Unfortunately, in today's world, they have become permanently entwined in many ways. Politicians use automatic phone-calling systems and flashy Web sites to seek money and votes. Departments like the FBI and CIA have had to rethink their strategies as criminals and terrorists have become more high-tech. Identity theft has gone electronic too. Nowadays we don't worry so much about our waiters copying down our secret numbers when they carry away our credit cards to pay for our meals. We're more concerned with phishers and hackers.

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In our field, there are several points where technology and politics intersect. The most-talked-about one is protecting patron privacy. Many librarians don't want anyone (especially The Feds) to be able to access users' records to get their identity or borrowing data. And it's not just a U.S. problem. This article is proof: "Dutch public libraries oppose personal data bill" (DMeurope.com, 5/4/05). "The Netherlands Public Library Association has voiced its objection to proposed Dutch legislation that would lower legal thresholds and safeguards and give Dutch authorities greater power in obtaining from . …

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