To Eric, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I passed the info along to my coworkers and a discussion about the AddThis widget in our CONTENTdm instance is now on the agenda for our next weekly meeting.
To Bill, I think a workshop on setting up a Tor relay/node at a library would be an excellent addition to the next code4lib conference in February.
Library Systems Programmer
University of Southern California
From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of William Denton <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 1:32 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Canvas Fingerprinting by AddThis
On 14 August 2014, Eric Hellman wrote:
> I must say I'm surprised that most of the response to "libraries are letting
> advertisers track patrons as they browse their catalogs" is discussion of
> privacy condomware. Perhaps I've missed something?
Indeed no, that's how this thread went. But it's relevant, because though we
should make our own sites private and secure, we should also help people use the
web privately and securely everywhere, and extensions like this do that.
At the university where I work Google Analytics is the standard, and we use it
on the library's web site. There's probably no way around that---but we can
tell people how to block the tracking, which will help them locally (ironically)
and everwhere else. (I use Piwik at home, and like it, but moving to that here
would be a long-term project, only partly for technical reasons.)
I know it doesn't make a lot of sense for some people in institutions to work to
defeat what co-workers are doing, but I think there will be a lot of that around
privacy---some people blocking tracking that marketers want to use, for
example---for some time to come.
Another approach is Tor, both spreading the word about it and how to use it
properly, and also about running relays and exit nodes on the Tor network. I
run a relay myself, and encourage others to do so. Institutions like libraries
and universities should be running them---we have the bandwidth and computing
power and instituional heft---and I wonder if anyone here is doing that are
William Denton ¡ê Toronto, Canada ¡ê http://www.miskatonic.org/