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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2018
CONTACT: Kathleen Clark, Mayor’s Office of the CTO; E: kaclark@cto.nyc.gov, P: 646-927-9592

NEW YORK CITY ANNOUNCES LIBRARY PRIVACY WEEK, A SERIES OF EDUCATIONAL EVENTS TO HELP NEW YORKERS PROTECT THEIR DIGITAL PRIVACY

 

From October 15 through October 22, the City of New York public libraries will host over 30 free digital privacy workshops for the public. This work was made possible through the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, New York Public Library, Queens Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

NEW YORK — The de Blasio Administration today announced the City’s first-ever Library Privacy Week 2018, a week-long celebration of libraries and their unique role in providing patrons with crucial information about protecting their digital privacy. Through the week of October 15th, the Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, Queens Public Library and Metropolitan New York Library Council will host over 30 data privacy workshops throughout all five boroughs that are free and open to the public. These workshops will cover topics ranging from utilizing digital privacy tools to leveraging art to interrogate emerging issues of digital privacy. For a full schedule, please visit libraryprivacyweek.nyc.

Library Privacy Week 2018 marks the formal launch of NYC Digital Safety: Privacy & Security, a project that ensures that NYC residents can rely on public libraries for their questions about internet privacy and security. Funded by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, more than 1,000 library staff members throughout each of the three library systems in all five boroughs received specialized training on online privacy and digital security. This program builds on the success of the Data Privacy Project, and leveraged resources developed by Library Freedom Project, the Mozilla Foundation, Tactical Tech Collective and the METRO Library Council. All of the materials from NYC Digital Safety: Privacy & Security were created under a Creative Commons License and will be available for use by librarians, educators and technologists throughout the world.

“As we get all New Yorkers online we must make sure that they are safe from the threats that come with using the internet,” said Alby Bocanegra, interim Chief Technology Officer, City of New York. “We are proud to support NYC Safety: Privacy and Security and applaud our public library systems — Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library and Queens Public Library — for providing an invaluable education resource for New Yorkers with Library Privacy Week.”

“Everyone in New York City has the right to be free from discrimination,” said Chair and Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis. “As we continue to spend many hours of our daily lives online, we must understand the critically-important connections between human rights and digital privacy so that we can gain the tools and knowledge needed to protect ourselves. The Commission is thrilled to be a part of this exciting partnership and we will continue fighting for New Yorkers to live free from discrimination and harassment.”

“New York City is dedicated to protecting its residents’ personally identifying information,” said Chief Privacy Officer Laura Negron. “Educating the public through events like Library Privacy Week is an important part of ensuring New Yorkers know their rights and are aware of issues related to privacy.”

“As our lives become increasingly digital, protecting privacy is a core value for New Yorkers and a priority for our City,” said Samir Saini, Commissioner of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications. “We commend the public libraries and our agency partners for leading the way in educating the public, providing an invaluable resource and tools to help New Yorkers safeguard their digital lives.”

“The insidious nature of social media is real and more evident each day, so it is important we understand how to protect ourselves and our digital privacy online,” said Borough President James Oddo. “Thank you to the Administration for working with our public libraries to provide these important programs and services for our community. I encourage Staten Islanders to attend this workshop.”

“Just because we live in a city of over 8 million people doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our online privacy,” said Council Member Koo, Chair of the Committee on Technology. “Unfortunately, too many of us are too careless with our personal information, and Library Privacy Week will be an excellent opportunity for New Yorkers to learn more about how to safeguard ourselves against the many hazards that exist online.”

“Through Library Privacy Week, our City is bringing critical digital security training straight to our communities,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This workshop series would help New Yorkers of all generations to learn best practices to safeguard their personal information whenever and wherever they access the internet. In an increasingly connected world, our City’s leaders must make sure that every New Yorker is equipped with the tools to adapt and understand the ever-changing technological landscape.”

“New York City’s public libraries are the perfect place to showcase and educate the public about online privacy – and security,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Library Privacy week will not only be effective in teaching residents about internet security but it will also demonstrate how useful and important our libraries are here New York City. Thank you to the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, METRO Library Council and all of our library branches for working together on this project and seeing it through.”  

“Long before the age of cell phones and the Internet, American libraries have worked to protect people’s essential right to privacy,” said New York Public Library Vice President, General Counsel Michele Mayes. “And we continue to do so even as the digital age brings new and complex challenges. With ‘Library Privacy Week,’ we highlight the public library as a trusted resource in this arena, always ready to provide accurate, up-to-date, and authoritative information on privacy and digital security. ”

“Libraries are a hub for information in every neighborhood in Brooklyn,” said Nick Higgins, interim Chief Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library. “Today, when so many of those resources are accessed digitally, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our patrons to be leaders on privacy and digital security. We are delighted to participate in the first ever Library Privacy Week and invite everyone to Brooklyn Public Library to learn more.”

“We believe privacy is fundamental to intellectual freedom and are thrilled to be part of an effort to protect it,” said Queens Library Chief Librarian Nick Buron.  “As cyber threats increase, libraries – serving as vital community and information centers – recognize their responsibility to provide the public with additional resources to develop digital literacy and best practices to guard privacy online.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of New York City’s Library Privacy Week. Libraries are a go-to resource for questions related to privacy- and security-related questions. Library Privacy Week showcases the broad range of programs and services libraries provide to help their communities safeguard their personal data” said Nate Hill, Executive Director of the METRO Library Council.

“The Digital Equity Laboratory at The New School is thrilled to work with New York’s libraries to flip the script on digital privacy risks by engaging the power of communities coming together to build a collective response, share tools and knowledge, and create a vision for healthy digital ecologies across the city” said Greta Byrum, Co-Director, Digital Equity Laboratory at The New School.

This project highlights the important role that libraries have to play in the 21st century. In 1939, the American Library Association affirmed a right to privacy, noting that confidentiality is critical to the exercise of free speech, free thought and free association. NYC Safety: Privacy & Security represents an important step to ensuring that library staff remain informed and prepared to navigate the latest emerging threats to privacy created by digital technologies.

Highlights of Library Privacy Week 2018 include:

  • Bronx (October 15) How to Secure Your Privacy While Using the Internet is a free public workshop hosted by the New York Public Library will cover best practices of keeping your information safe online and your computer virus free.
  • Manhattan (October 16) Safety First! Privacy, security and your data is a free workshop hosted by the METRO library council that will explore new ways of helping learners better understand how our data is being (mis)-used online, and what we can do to protect it
  • Staten Island (October 19) Social Media & Your Privacy is a free workshop designed to help learners navigate privacy controls and other measures on sites like Facebook and Twitter
  • Queens (October 17) Anti-Social: Exporting Your Google and Facebook Data is a free workshop to help you find out what information large technology companies collect about you and how to use built-in privacy tools to opt out of certain types of data collection.
  • Brooklyn (October 22) NYC Digital Safety: Artists Panel is a free event that will preview “Public/Private,” a distributed exhibition of nine site-specific artworks installed at library branches across the city exploring issues of digital
    risk and privacy.

 Library Privacy Week will also offer a special preview of Privacy in Public: NYC Digital Safety Exhibition. This public art exhibition will run from November 15 through January 15, and it will elevate a conversation about digital privacy in New York City’s communities directly through their local branch libraries. Nine library branches — three from each of the city’s library systems — will host a distributed exhibition of site-specific artworks exploring issues related to digital risk and privacy. The selected artists will highlight the concerns of communities who are often marginalized in technology development and disproportionately at risk of harm from predatory or surveillant systems.

This work was led by an Advisory Council comprised of representatives from the City of New York, METRO Library Council, New School, Mozilla Foundation, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Library and Queens Public Library.

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