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The Filter Bubble: Implications for Libraries, Revised 2013

Presentation to the Central Kansas Library System, October 16, 2013.
by Angela Kroeger on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of The Filter Bubble: Implications for Libraries, Revised 2013

Central Kansas Library System
October 16, 2013

Angela Kroeger
Criss Library, University of Nebraska at Omaha
The Filter Bubble
by Eli Pariser
Overt filtering vs. covert filtering
The bad side of filtering
The good side of filtering
Libraries and filtering
Outline
"You know that dream where you suddenly realize you're stark naked? You're living it whenever you open your browser."
–Kate Murphy.
Murphy, K. (2012, May 2). How to muddy your tracks on the internet.
The New York Times.
Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/technology/personaltech/how-to-muddy-your-tracks-on-the-internet.htm
Pariser, E. (2011).
The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.
New York: Penguin.
Pariser, E. (2011).
The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.
New York: Penguin.
". . . from within the bubble, it's nearly impossible to see how biased it is."
-Eli Pariser
Bilton, N. (2010).
I live in the future & here's how it works: Why your world, work, and brain are being creatively disrupted.
New York: Crown Business.
"I can tell you first hand that thanks to my anchoring communities [social networks], I see a
drastically wider range of viewpoints
online than I've ever experienced reading a print newspaper, watching the nightly news, or reading select niche magazines."
-Nick Bilton
A contrasting view . . .
The
filter bubble
ensures that you see more
relevant
advertisements, which is how
"free"
online services support themselves.
Constine, J. (2012, April 23). Facebook’s amended S-1: 901 million users, 500M mobile, paid $300M cash + 23M shares for Instagram.
TechCrunch.
Retrieved from: http://techcrunch.com/2012/04/23/facebooks-amended-s-1-500-million-mobile-users-paid-300m-cash-23-million-shares-for-instagram/
Facebook makes $4.69-$4.81 per user annually.
About the cost of this venti mocha.
Google and Facebook,
and many other companies,
collect your personal data,
even if you're not logged in, and sometimes even if you don't have an account.
Efrati, A. (2013, July 30). Google's data-trove dance: Internal debates arise over using collected information and protecting privacy.
The Wall Street Journal.
Retrieved from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324170004578635812623154242.html

Facebook & your privacy: Who sees the data you share on the biggest social network? (2012, June).
Consumer Reports.
Retrieved from: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/06/facebook-your-privacy/index.htm

Rosen, D. (2012, May 20). The terrifying ways Google is destroying your privacy.
AlterNet.
Retrieved from: http://www.alternet.org/story/155479/the_terrifying_ways_google_is_destroying_your_privacy?page=entire
FailBlog.org. (2011, October 23). Autocomplete me: You sonofa… Retrieved from: http://failblog.org/2011/10/23/epic-fail-photos-autocomplete-me-you-sonofa/
Okay, so people get different search results. Is it a problem?
Pappas, S. (2012, January 22). Conservatives & liberals don't see eye-to-eye, literally.
LiveScience.
Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/18056-conservatives-liberals-biology-threats.html

Pappas, S. (2012, January 29). U.S. political divide said not so wide.
DiscoveryNews.
Retrieved from: http://news.discovery.com/human/republican-democrat-partisan-divide0120129.html
One study says that liberals and conservatives actually have different brain wiring and are incapable of understanding each other's worldview.
Another says that the U.S. political divide is about the same as it was forty years ago.
The latter implies that Internet filtering did not cause the former.
Overt Filtering
Covert Filtering
VS.
Users have accounts and clicked "I agree" to terms of service.
Companies operate without user knowledge or consent.
Acxiom
Singer, N. (2012, June 16). You for sale: Mapping, and sharing, the consumer genome.
The New York Times.
Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/technology/acxiom-the-quiet-giant-of-consumer-database-marketing.html
1,500 data points on about 500 million global consumers, including the majority of U.S. adults.

They sell for the purposes of offering targeted advertising.
"Meet Becky: 37, married, 2 children,
high value
, lives in NY."
Acxiom. (2010, June 2). Welcome to the Acxiom Corporation Investor Day. Retrieved from: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/65163921/Acxiom-Corporation-Data-Demand-Respect
-From Acxiom's 2010
presentation to their investors
Blue, V. (2012, November 12). Congressional inquiry responses released: Data brokers refuse to name sources.
ZDNet.
Retrieved from: http://www.zdnet.com/congressional-inquiry-responses-released-data-brokers-refuse-to-name-sources-7000007235/

Mitchell, J. (2012, April 26). Here are 20 companies who sell your data (& how to stop them).
ReadWriteWeb.
Retrieved from: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/here-are-20-companies-who-sell-your-data-how-to-stop-them.php

Pariser, E. (2011).
The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.
New York: Penguin.

Robertson, J. (2011, December 16). AP impact: When your criminal past isn't yours.
Yahoo! Finance.
Retrieved from: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ap-impact-criminal-past-isnt-182335059.html

Sengupta, S. (2013, March 25). What you didn't post, Facebook may still know.
The New York Times.
Retreived from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/26/technology/facebook-expands-targeted-advertising-through-outside-data-sources.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Turow, J. (2011).
The daily you: How the new advertising industry is defining your identity and your worth.
N
ew Haven: Yale University Press.
Acxiom
RapLeaf
Spokeo
PrivateEye
Radaris
Intelius
BlueKai
Zabasearch
PeopleSmart
Experian
Reed Elsevier
Equifax
TransUnion
Archives
PeopleLookup
US Search
PeopleFinders
PeekYou
PublicRecordsNow
USA People Search
Epsilon
White Pages
MyLife
PIPL
Just a sampling of the data brokers . . .
Madrigal, A. (2012, March 1). I'm being followed: how Google--and 104 other companies--track me on the web.
NationalJournal.
Retrieved from: http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/i-m-being-followed-how-google-and-104-other-companies-track-me-on-the-web-20120301
Alexis Madrigal identified
105
companies that tracked her during a 36-hour period of normal Internet usage.
Singer, N. (2012, June 16). You for sale: Mapping, and sharing, the consumer genome.
The New York Times.
Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/technology/acxiom-the-quiet-giant-of-consumer-database-marketing.html
Targets
Waste
VS.
"Over time, that can really turn into a mountain of pathways not offered, not seen and not known about."
-Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum
When marketing algorithms classify a person as "waste" . . .
Turow, J. (2012, February 7). A guide to the digital advertising industry that's watching your every click
The Atlantic.
Retrieved from: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/a-guide-to-the-digital-advertising-industry-thats-watching-your-every-click/252667/
Image used with permission.
Photo by A. Kroeger.
Image used with permission.
Why do we stand for it?
Convenience.
Filtering
is the
antidote
to information overload.
Personalization = system-controlled
Customization = user-controlled
Power-users prefer customization.
However, with the assurance of a high level of privacy, these preferences
flip
.
Sundar, S. S., & Marathe, S. S. (2010). Personalization versus customization: The importance of agency, privacy, and power usage.
Human Communication Research
, 38, 298-322.
Non-power-users prefer personalization.
Don't expect a massive public uprising against filtering and personalization.
"In the United States, 275,232 books were published in 2008, a thirty-fold increase in volume from 1900. But it's highly unlikely that your local library got hundreds of times bigger during those past 110 years to accommodate that growth curve. Instead, your library adopted the only realistic tactic,
each year ignoring a higher and higher percentage of available volumes."
-David Weinberger
Weinberger, D. (2011).
Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren't the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room.
New York: Basic Books.
Libraries as Filters
Burkell, J., & Carey, R. (2011). Personal information and the public library: Compliance with fair information practice principles/Les renseignements personnels dans les bibliothèques publiques: Le respect des principes d'équité dans les pratiques de collecte de renseignements.
The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science/La Revue canadienne des sciences de l’information et de bibliothéconomie
, 35(1), 1-15.
Libraries may collect and use patron data for
Patron records
Circulation histories
Interlibrary loan requests
Online reference services
Electronic resource usage records
Book recommendations
Public computer logons
And much more
American Library Association, Office for Intellectual Freedom. (2012). Privacy tool kit: Guidelines for developing a library privacy policy. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/iftoolkits/toolkitsprivacy/guidelinesfordevelopingalibraryprivacypolicy/guidelinesprivacypolicy
"The right to
privacy
is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one's interest examined or scrutinized by others.
Confidentiality
relates to the possession of personally identifiable information."
-American Library Association
Intellectual Freedom Committee
American Library Association. (2004). The freedom to read statement. Retrieved from: http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement
"It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are
unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority."
-The American Library Association
Pariser, E. (2011).
The filter bubble: What the Internet is hiding from you.
New York: Penguin.
". . . to feel curiosity, we have to be conscious that something's being hidden. Because the filter bubble hides things invisibly, we're not as compelled to learn about what we don't know."
-Eli Pariser
The Filter Bubble:
Implications for Libraries

Think about yourself.
When collecting materials for your library, be aware of your own filter bubble.
Think about your patrons.
Patrons accustomed to strongly personalized search results on the services they use most may perceive library search results as having an undesirable signal-to-noise ratio.
If libraries offer
personalized services . . .

Make it
obvious
if filtering is in effect.
Make it
easy
to turn off or on.
Alternatives to Google Search
DuckDuck
Go
https://duckduckgo.com/
A tool for evaluating websites' privacy policies and terms of service
Terms of Service; Didn't Read
http://tos-dr.info/
Unhosted. (2012). Terms of Service; Didn't Read. Retrieved from: http://tos-dr.info/index.html
Think about your library's privacy policy
Don't expect our patrons to simply know that we don't buy or sell their personal data.
Grant, C. (2012, Fall). The future of library systems: Library services platforms.
Information Standards Quarterly
, 24(4), 4-15. doi: 10.3789/isqv24n4.2012.02
"We need to provide contextual support--the ability for library members, to easily understand the environment in which existing knowledge was created and the funding sources behind it. We should be able to say, through our technology: 'Show me an opposing point of view or show me other critical commentary on this view.'
We don't want to place our users in a 'filter bubble;' we want to place them in a 'learning bubble,'
a place above biases, above unspecified and un-modifiable filtering"
-Carl Grant
Libraries can teach
critical thinking skills as a part
of information literacy instruction.
Weiner, J. (2011). Is there a difference between critical thinking and information literacy? A systematic review 2000-2009.
Journal of Information Literacy
, 5(2), 81-92.
Turow, J. (2011).
The daily you: How the new advertising
industry is defining your identity and your worth.
N
ew Haven: Yale University Press.
Yikes!
News sites can
alter the headline and lead paragraph
to better attract an individual's attention based on their preferences.
Think about that for a moment, in the context of a student citing a source for a research paper.
Turow, J. (2011).
The daily you: How the new advertising
industry is defining your identity and your worth.
N
ew Haven: Yale University Press.
Double yikes!
It is technically possible to
alter characters and plots
to suit readers, viewers, and players.
Imagine a book club discussion where each reader has a slightly different version of the text.
This is not widespread because the expense and processing power required.
Libraries can provide more reliable access than Google.
Weinheimer, J. (2012, June 12). Reality check: What is it that the public wants today? [Web log post.] Retrieved from: http://blog.jweinheimer.net/2012/06/reality-check-what-is-it-that-public.html
"
Reliable selection
that guarantees you will see all kinds of opinions;
reliable cataloging
so that you can find something the same way you found it yesterday;
reliable access
so that if a site you found disappears or changes, you can still access the information."
-James Weinheimer
Conclusion
Recognize
when your patrons need help finding something beyond their filters . . .
Be aware
of your own filter bubble.
Understand
how filter bubbles work.
Questions or comments?
Contact me:
Angela Kroeger
akroeger@unomaha.edu
(Emphasis added.)
But
neither
group likes unpersonalized, uncustomized websites.
In other words . . .
(Emphasis added.)
(Emphasis added.)
(Emphasis added.)
(Emphasis added.)
(Emphasis added.)
(Emphasis added.)
Pariser noticed conservative friends disappearing from his Facebook feed.
Patrons you help remotely might not see the same things on their screens that you see on yours.
CNBC Video. (2009, December 29). Google's privacy [video file]. Retrieved from: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=1372176413
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."
-Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google
(now Executive Chairman)
When you see more of what you like
& less of what you don't
it isolates you
like you're in a bubble
Thomson West
LexisNexis
Harte-Hanks
FICO
Merkle
Meredith Corp.
Datalogix
Evidon, Inc. (2011). KnowYourElements.com, presented by Ghostery. Retrieved from: http://www.knowyourelements.com/
Even if you opt out, you will still be tracked. You just won't receive the personalized ads.
Madrigal, A. (2012, March 1). I'm being followed: how Google--and 104 other companies--track me on the web.
NationalJournal.
Retrieved from: http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/i-m-being-followed-how-google-and-104-other-companies-track-me-on-the-web-20120301

Turow, J. (2011).
The daily you: How the new advertising industry is defining your identity and your worth.
New Haven: Yale University Press.
There is
no way
to verify whether your hidden profile is accurate.

People have already been
denied jobs
due to errors in these profiles.
Blue, V. (2012, November 12). Congressional inquiry responses released: Data brokers refuse to name sources.
ZDNet.
Retrieved from: http://www.zdnet.com/congressional-inquiry-responses-released-data-brokers-refuse-to-name-sources-7000007235/

Robertson, J. (2011, December 16). AP impact: When your criminal past isn't yours.
Yahoo! Finance.
Retrieved from: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ap-impact-criminal-past-isnt-182335059.html
Even when the profiles are accurate, the data may tell stories people
don't even know
about themselves.
Bohn, D. (2012, October 29). Google Now: Behind the predictive future of search.
The Verge.
Retrieved from: http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569684/google-now-android-4-2-knowledge-graph-neural-networks

Duhigg, C. (2012, February 16). How companies learn your secrets.
The New York Times.
Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html
Predicative Analysis!
It's all the rage!
"The privacy that libraries traditionally have been preserving is
not always valued
by their patrons . . ."
- David Weinberger
Parry, M. (2012, November 5). As libraries go digital, sharing of data is at odds with tradition of privacy.
The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Retrieved from: http://chronicle.com/article/As-Libraries-Go-Digital/135514/
(Emphasis added.)
Is privacy even possible in the era of cell phones, security cameras, and Google Glass?
Where is the
balance
between offering the services our users
expect
and providing an
oasis
of privacy and anonymity?
Ix
quick
https://www.ixquick.com/
A few options for protecting users' privacy on public computers . . .
Ghostery
AdBlock Plus
DoNotTrackMe
NoScript
https://www.ghostery.com/
https://adblockplus.org/
https://www.abine.com/dntdetail.php
http://noscript.net/
HTTPS Everywhere
https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
Or, clear away trackware (and everything else) with one of these:
Deep Freeze
Clean Slate
SmartShield
http://www.faronics.com/products/deep-freeze/
http://www.fortresgrand.com/products/cls/cls.htm
http://www.centuriontech.com/
It's not just the computers, but also
other devices
your library may offer.
Barnes & Noble
tracks what people read on
Nook.
Amazon
tracks what people read on
Kindle.
Cohn, C., & Higgins, P. (2012, November 29). Who's tracking your reading habits? An e-book buyer's guide to privacy, 2012 edition.
Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Retrieved from: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/11/e-reader-privacy-chart-2012-update
. . . or when they need help keeping something from becoming part of their filter.
See the full transcript