Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Join or Renew
Developing Issues

FTRF has a Developing Issues Committee that presents semiannual reports to the board about free speech and privacy issues that have recently emerged or are on the horizon.  Below are some of the issues.


Personal Data Collection and E-Books/Online Library Systems

It is clear that third-party vendors who provide access to e-books have the capability to track patron data and use information and to retain that information. The laws governing the sharing and disclosure of data held by third parties allow third-party vendors to adopt privacy policies that may differ substantially from the privacy policy in place at the library, thereby permitting patron use information to be divulged by the third-party vendor in contravention of library policy and state law.


Labeling of Book and Media Content for Youth

The American Library Association strongly discourages ratings systems for books and other reading materials.  However, there is a growing dependence (by parents, schools, and even some libraries) on book ratings systems that serve more to block young people from reading rather than to think critically about what they want to read or the ideas they encounter. 


Online Public Access Catalogs, privacy, and labeling 

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has received complaints about Bibliocommons, the new OPAC software application.  The concern is that it may violate library users' privacy and raises issues of prejudicial labeling because it allows library users to place criticism of books on the book's catalog record.


Cloud computing and privacy

The use of cloud computing raises concerns about privacy, information integrity, and ownership, control and access to information.  A particular concern is third party vendors whose contracts are not designed to protect the public interest or libraries as institutions. 


Library card residency requirement

Does a residency requirement for obtaining a library card unfairly impact the ability of homeless people to access public library materials?

News from FTRF