LACUNY Institute 2015

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We live in a world full of social media and portable technology that allows for the effortless access to, and sharing of, information. While this constant connection can be viewed as a benefit by some, there have been recent, sometimes embarrassing, instances throughout the world that show just how quickly any expectation of privacy can be destroyed. From pictures of poorly dressed shoppers at a grocery store to customers recording interactions with their servers at restaurants, the internet is full of media (all with the potential to go viral) created and posted without consent of all parties captured.

This risk to privacy is not just limited to retail and restaurants, as being in any situation amongst people puts you at risk, including being in an academic classroom. Anyone providing in-class instruction, be they professor or librarian, can be at risk for this type of violation of privacy. In addition, the students in the class are also at risk for being unwittingly captured by their classmates. To combat this, colleges and universities are providing recommendations to faculty regarding this issue, such as including suggested syllabus statements about classroom recording by students. In some instances, colleges and universities have instituted formal policies with strict penalties for violators.

An overview of current privacy law as it relates to an academic setting is discussed as well as recent, newsworthy instances of student recording in the classroom and the resulting controversies. Additionally, there is a discussion highlighting various recommendations and formal policies that have been issued and adopted by colleges and universities around the country. Finally, advice is offered about what librarians can do to educate students, faculty, and staff about the privacy rights of others and the potential harm that could come from posting to social media and the open web images and video of others without their consent.


This presentation was given as part of the 2015 LACUNY Institute.