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Your Research Privacy and NETIDs

15 July 2009 by Barry Brown

We’ve received questions recently regarding whether the library is tracking computer use by NETID. You can read the full statement on library user’s right to privacy on our policy page.

The bottom line? The library does not keep track of any patron’s research activities.

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4 Responses to “Your Research Privacy and NETIDs”

  1. Concerned Citizen Says:

    What an ignorant statement. Using NetIDs on the campus network creates a link between a user and her electronic activities. Who is severing the link. Not Campus IT. How long are they storing it. Who has access to that record under what circumstances. Answer that and you may be a bit more believable.

  2. What’s New Weblog » Blog Archives » Tips for Protecting your Research Privacy Says:

    [...] can take to ensure your safety. The library does not track search behavior, but like a commenter rightly points out, there are other entities involved like network administrators and search [...]

  3. librarians are liars, they track netid use Says:

    The librarians are liars and cheats, as usual. I recently sent a post to one of the library’s own blogs just like this one. Thereafter, when just mouse-clicking around to read some of the other library blogs, I was disgusted to discover that the library is tracking my netid use during library blogging.

    The tracking is obvious because whenever I mouse-click on any of the library blogs, the blog page displays with the “feedback” fields -name and email address- automatically filled-in with the prior personal information that I provided to submit the original post.

    Obviously, the librarians are lying when they state that they do not tracking netid use.

    Anyone who has previously submitted a post to any library blog using a netid computer can witness the same invasion of privacy.

  4. Steve McCann Says:

    “librarians are liars, …” you bring up a good question when you ask why your name and email address showed up again when you tried to post. Here’s the answer:

    When you log in to a machine with your NETID, you are technically creating a new “profile” on that computer which then keeps track of your documents, website cookies, and logins for the remainder of that day. Each night, the computers restart automatically and erase all the profiles that were created earlier in the day.

    To test this, go ahead and restart your library computer after logging in. When you log in once more, you’ll see that the computer isn’t remembering your weblog feedback fields like you experienced above. If you want to jump-start this process you can restart the computer instead of simply logging off when you’re through.

    The reason we have logins create new profiles on the computers is so if the power goes out (or the machine crashes) there’s a chance we may be able to rescue any documents you’re working on if you would want that.

    Also, getting back to the fact that we don’t track what our patrons are doing, we follow the ALA Code of Ethics. We’re committed to intellectual freedom and do not censure library resources.

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