New York Public Library changed its data retention policies, and the American Library Association apologized for normalizing the Trump administration
Public and private libraries are reacting swiftly to the election of Donald Trump, promising to destroy user information before it can be used against readers and backing up data abroad.
Now, the page reads: Sometimes the law requires us to share your information, such as if we receive a valid subpoena, warrant, or court order. We may share your information if our careful review leads us to believe that the law, including state privacy law applicable to Library Records, requires us to do so.
The NYPL also assures users that it will not retain data any longer than is necessary. We are committed to keeping such information, outlined in all the examples above, only as long as needed in order to provide Library services, the librarians wrote.
Meanwhile the digital library Archive.org, which keeps a searchable database of public websites, announced on Tuesday that it would create a new Canada-based backup of its huge information repository in order to respond to the increased threat of invisible government scrutiny. The groups services include the Internet Archive and a search engine cataloguing it, called the Wayback Machine.
We have statements by President Trump saying hes against net neutrality and he wants to expand libel laws, Archive.org founder Brewster Kahle told the Guardian. Librarians are wary of storing hoards of precious information along faultlines, whether those faultlines were literal or ideological. Trump has called for surveillance of Muslims and nominated Jeff Sessions as his attorney general; the Alabama senator called plans to stop the NSAs warrantless domestic wiretapping idiotic.
Archives director of partnerships, Wendy Hanamura, said the decision had been a sober one. We didnt pick Canada out of a hat, she said. Law in Canada has shifted recently, making it a really great place for libraries to experiment.
Even before the election we had made the decision to host at least Canadian materials in Canada, Kahle said. They have rigorous privacy rules because they dont particularly like patients privacy information going to the United States. The response to the fundraising campaign had been overwhelming, he said.
The Wayback is a popular tool among journalists; one of its key features is the ability to see what changes were made to a given website and when. The project automatically captures some 300m web pages every week and devotes some of its resources to splitting its archived material into collections of similar material, such as political ads and books in the public domain.
Backlash from the librarian community to Trumps election was so rapid that the American Library Association (ALA) issued an apology for its 18 November statement, saying its members would work with President-elect Trump and his transition team.
We understand that content from these press releases, including the 11/18/16 release that was posted in error, was interpreted as capitulating to and normalizing the incoming administration, the ALA president, Julie B Todaro, wrote in American Libraries Magazine. Todaro said that the ALAs core values remained unchanged: free access, intellectual freedom, privacy and confidentiality.
It is clear that many of these values are at odds with messaging or positions taken by the incoming administration, she wrote.