Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Gates Foundation funding to libraries -- how is the funding actually used to collect personal information?

A constitution to protect your freedoms. Slowly whittled away at your public library. Bill and Melinda Gates through their Gates Foundation provide funding to public libraries. This is a nice thing of them to do.

I was wondering what their views were on libraries requiring patrons to register their names and have an identification card.

For example, there are some systems that require patrons to provide their names that are loaded into permanent databases.

This is more than simply the normal "before you can checkout a book, you have to have a library card, so show us your ID."

Rather, this is analogous to saying, "before you can even enter the library, you have to have your ID on file."

Today, patrons do not have to show their ID before reading books. Only when checking them out.

In my view, the public should not be required to give up their right to privacy and anonymity just because they choose to use public resources.

The courts have long held that the public has a right of access to public facilities. This is a clearly established federal right.
The mechanism on which we rely to keep courts open thus depends on maintaining a motivation for private parties to seek access to courts through litigation by ensuring that a person who or entity that establishes openness obtains the benefit of it... Huminski can assert an individual right [**87] of access to the courts
The reason the public should similarly have the right of "access without identification" to the libraries is that requiring identification will have a chilling impact on research.

Currently, individuals IPs are tracked. At no time are individuals required to links their searches with their name.

Society benefits by having free and open searches of public information. Great thinking occur when one knows they are not having "big brother" monitoring their every move.

It is absurd to suggest that "without big brother," people will wander of "the path." What path?

We have seen nothing from DC suggesting that they have "the path" nor a superior position.

Indeed, if we are to go before the JTTF or DoJ, who is DoJ or the US attorney to talk about "what the right standards are." They violate the law, kill people in detention, and then cover up the crimes.

It is the government, not the people, who should be required to account.

Yet, at every turn, when the public desires to use public resources, suddenly the government says, "We require you to make a showing."

The people should first see that demonstration first, by the government. That the government is to be trusted to follow the rules.

When the public sees that the rules are followed, perhaps the people might think about giving up their liberty and privacy.

Yet, as a condition of "exercising those rights to access," the public is required to give up their anonymity.

  • Is the Gates foundation aware of the mandatory registration requirements?

  • Are libraries institutionalizing "mandatory registrations"?

  • How will patrons "use of the internet" be associated with identifying information?

  • What provisions are there to remove this information?

    Recall, IndyMedia had their records subpoenaed during the RNC by Secret Service. Photos allegedly showing Swiss law enforcement were posted; and also e-mail names of the RNC staff also appeared.

    I have little confidence that a public library is going to have the requisite resources to stand up to DoJ, an organization that already moves people around on Gulfstreams, commits torture, and makes inconvenient people go away.

    What do I want?

    End to mandatory public registrations under these systems. Patrons should be able to freely come and go without having their personal identification shows to use the library services. Users should be able to have pseudonymous access.

    Moreover, there needs to be a better understanding how the web information is collected, collated, and stored.

    I would hope that the Gates Foundation understand how the grants are actually used to dissuade the poor from using public resources.