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CODE4LIB  September 2018

CODE4LIB September 2018

Subject:

Re: Lean Library Security Concerns

From:

"Harper, Cynthia" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 4 Sep 2018 13:32:53 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (57 lines)

Is there a browser extension that does meet data privacy concerns adequately (or even well)? Your recommendations welcome.
Cindy Harper 

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Eric Hellman
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2018 1:15 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Lean Library Security Concerns

Wow. Lean Library seems to be sloppily implemented, has a privacy policy that says that big dutch companies that acquire them receive ALL the user data, and the word "collect" doesn't mean what they think it means. The icing on the cake is that their T&C forbid us from reverse engineering their code to see what it really does.

From their "privacy policy":
We may disclose the information we obtain:
If Lean Library is involved in a merger, acquisition or sale of all or a portion of its Please note that you will be notified by either email or a prominent notice on our website of any changes in ownership or uses of this information.
from their T&C
No Reverse Engineering and the like.User nor Licensee may, or may cause or permit any of its employees or any third party to, modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, disassemble, translate or create derivative works based on the Service without the prior written consent of Licensor, which Licensor may withhold in its sole discretion.

Any librarian that pays to hand users over to LL as it presents itself today needs to reflect on their life choices.

Having said that, (and having been involved in browser extension projects) I think LL would be super valuable if done right, with all the i's dotted and t's crossed.

That would mean building independent code review and privacy and data audits of ops into LL's contracts. Remember that giving a company phone-back access to a browser extension gives that company (and anyone with the power or craft to compel that company) to see everything a user does online, credit card numbers, browsing behavior, passwords, EVERYTHING! Libraries need to examine their potential legal liability for their patron's catastrophic security loss if they recommend installation of this product (as presented today.)

If anyone needs technical backup on this, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Eric Hellman
President, Free Ebook Foundation
Founder, Unglue.it https://unglue.it/
https://go-to-hellman.blogspot.com/
twitter: @gluejar

> On Aug 21, 2018, at 6:04 PM, Tammy Wolf <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> I just wondered if anyone else on this list reviewed Lean Library<mailto:https://www.leanlibrary.com/> and had any security and/or privacy concerns.
> 
> Here is what our Director of Security had to say,
> 
> "I can confirm that browsing activity is sent to lean library. Attached is an example screenshot showing the POST when visiting a URL on reddit.com. And if you visit https://app.leanlibrary.com/?r=api/api/institutes it's trivial to see info about all subscribers of lean library.
> 
> Also, there are Repeated Pings to capture user IP Address. This was also verified during the session capture. This occurs via https://app.leanlibrary.com/?r=api/api/getIp."
> 
> Our Security Director goes on to say the following:
> 
> "Of course this is also a question of consent. Any users of the plugin should first have to consent to the privacy policy: https://www.leanlibrary.com/privacy-policy/item181 - which would be in conflict with deploying this automatically to lab computers. I have some issues with the privacy policy itself as well. It states:
> 
> What information does Lean Library and The Extension NOT obtain?
> Your security and privacy is our biggest priority. We are only interested in information or data that can help us deliver the best experience possible in saving you time while and optimizing your academic research. Therefore, The Extension does not store any information for other browsing activity such as activity on non-database webpage urls.
> Maybe they aren't technically "storing" the fact that I visited a URL on reddit.com, but that visit still went to their server and was captured / analyzed *somehow*. It would be more accurate for them to say that they analyze all sites you visit to determine whether they are academic in nature, or something. But that would be a red flag."
> 
> Thoughts?
> 
> Tammy Allgood Wolf
> Director of Discovery Services
> ASU Library
> Arizona State University
> 480-965-1797
> <leanlibrary-postrequest.jpg>

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