Privacy in the Age of Surveillance: Everyone’s Concern

Virtual Conference

In an age of networked information platforms, a user’s activity is traced automatically and frequently without much system transparency. Does that necessarily constitute surveillance of the user? Depending upon the geographic location, camera and satellite monitoring are ubiquitous. Why shouldn’t data sensors help administrators improve traffic flow? Why should we hesitate to gather and use data in resolving big and small issues in society?  Vendors want to improve the user experience; studying user data allows that. Even in the library, benign assessment exercises trace patron use of resources or access. Where is the line and how should stakeholders be thinking about the issue?

To what extent are these practices intrusive or threatening to the individual? How transparent are we required to be about systems and practices? This event will feature participation by a variety of community stakeholders considering these and other questions about this sensitive concern.

Confirmed speakers for this event include, Mark Seeley, Principal, SciPubLaw, Dylan Gilbert, Privacy Policy Advisor, NIST, Micah Vandergrift, Open Knowledge Librarian, and Hannah Rainey, Associate Head, Research Engagement, both of North Carolina State University, Emily Singley, Head of Library Systems, Boston College, Qiana Johnson, Interim AUL for Collection Strategies, Northwestern University, and Todd Digby, Chair, Library Technology Services, University of Florida. 

Event Sessions

12:00 Noon - 12:15pm Welcome


12:15pm - 12:45pm Necessary Protections of Privacy


Privacy concerns have exploded with the increasing dominance of online access and consumption. Laws and regulations are inconsistent across international borders, and information providers as well as users and consumers are often unsure about who they are interacting with and the degree of trust that should be assumed in those transactions. This presentation will discuss the legal state of play on privacy protection and discuss the implications for providers and consumers, and attempt to identify best practices for research contracts and policies.

12:45pm - 1:15pm NIST Privacy Framework Version 1.0


Dylan Gilbert

Privacy Policy Advisor
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

As the Internet and associated information technologies drive unprecedented innovation, economic value, and access to social services, the amount of data about individuals that is changing hands is nearly incalculable. Many of these technological advancements are powered by individuals’ data flowing through a complex ecosystem. Finding ways to continue to derive benefits from data while also protecting individuals’ privacy is challenging and not well-suited to one-size-fits-all solutions. To enable better privacy engineering practices and help organizations protect individuals’ privacy, NIST developed the Privacy Framework: A Tool for Improving Privacy through Enterprise Risk Management Version 1.0 following a transparent, consensus-based process including both private and public stakeholders. The Privacy Framework Version 1.0 is a flexible and voluntary tool intended to be widely usable by organizations of all sizes and agnostic to any particular technology, sector, law, or jurisdiction.


Version 1.0 NIST Privacy Framework

NIST Resource Repository

Differential Privacy Blog Series

International Association of Privacy Professionals

1:15 - 1:45pm Building Privacy Infrastructure - An Academic Library’s Perspective


Academic libraries have long been stewards of researcher privacy, but an increasingly distributed digital world makes protecting privacy more challenging than ever before. This session will cover some of the technology infrastructure challenges libraries face when providing anonymous access to scholarly tools and resources, and will discuss some solutions in use at Boston College Libraries. Topics covered will include the use of federated access technologies (e.g., Shibboleth/InCommon) and the increased need for strong library and IT partnerships.  

1:45 - 2:00pm Break

2:00 - 2:30pm Addressing privacy and data access: Intersections Between the Library and the Broader Campus


Todd Digby

Chair, Library Information Technology
University of Florida

As libraries increasingly use more interconnected systems to provide research content and materials for their communities, there is an increasing need to be vigilant about the types and ways that these systems use the data they store and collect. This discussion will share the process of how the University of Florida Libraries work with campus IT and others across campus in the assessment of the risks to security and personal data in the implementation new and existing systems.


Integrated Risk Management

2:30pm - 3:00pm Playing Data Tracking and the Attention Economy: An Immersive Scholar Creative Residency Case Study


Hannah Rainey

Associate Head, Research Engagement
North Carolina State University (NCSU)

Libraries play an important role in the work of information literacy, especially around our shared, lived experiences online in a post-pandemic environment. This presentation will focus on the Immersive Scholar Creative Residency with artists and designers Joelle Dietrick and Owen Mundy, based on their browser-based game Tally Saves the Internet which explores data surveillance and the attention economy. The presenters will situate this project within ongoing outreach and instructional programs on critical information literacy.

Learn More:

Further Information on Tally Saves the Internet

Game Trailer

Sneakaway Studio

Visualization Studio at NC State

Digital Life Decoded Pop-Ups

Immersive Scholar Symposium: Data, Surveillance, and Privacy

3:00pm - 3:30pm Navigating Privacy and Assessment


Qiana Johnson

Interim Associate University Librarian for Collections Strategies
Northwestern University

The growing number and types of electronic resources have provided libraries with expanded ways to explore user behavior, particularly around use of information resources. Assessment and patron privacy protections can look very different than they did in an all print material library environment and involve partnerships outside of the library. In this changed and changing environment, libraries are thinking through how to protect patrons’ privacy while gathering information to show their value to the library user community, how libraries communicate these challenges to their colleagues, and how libraries communicate with their patrons about the privacy implications of some of the resources they use or to which they want the library to subscribe.

3:30 - 4:00pm Roundtable Discussion

Moderated by Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

Additional Information

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the archived recording within one business day. Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., we ask that you contact the NISO office at if you do not receive these instructions in a timely fashion. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.

  • Speaker presentation slides are posted to this event webpage following the live broadcast.

For Online Events

  • You will need a computer in order to view the broadcast; audio should feed through your device’s speaker or attached headset.

  • If you have questions or concerns regarding this registration, please contact NISO headquarters via email to We appreciate your interest and hope that you will gain valuable insight from our speakers.