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Technology and privacy in the academic library

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Adoption of technology in academic libraries sets up circumstances for collection of personal patron information and records of patron information seeking behaviour not possible in the pre-digital library. Even if collected unintentionally, this information may then be seized by law enforcement officials for criminal investigations. Passage of the USA PATRIOT Act has lowered the standards for obtaining search warrants that had previously been set by American legal precedent. This article describes potential situations where patron privacy can be endangered by the presence of information technology and how librarians can protect patron information and prepare patrons for safe information seeking in the online world.

Keywords: Academic Libraries; Information; Policy; Privacy; Technology; Usa

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14684520210452691

Publication date: November 27, 2002

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