May 17, 2022

Price on Privacy | Charleston Conference 2015

During this year’s Charleston Conference I had the opportunity to speak about library privacy—and digital privacy in general—on a panel organized by Ann Okerson with co-panelists, Lisa Macklin (Emory University) and Bill Hannay (Schiff Hardin LLP).

Speaking at the Gaillard Center was a wonderful experience. What a spectacular venue! Additionally, the staff from the Charleston Conference handling set-up were wonderful to work with.

With a short time for my presentation, my goal was to make attendees aware, or MORE aware, of the privacy issues and challenges that we all face, in a library setting but also just about everywhere else.

To do this I ran a live demo using two free tools, WireShark and Cookie Cadger, that allowed those in the audience a quick look at some of the wireless data flowing over the wi-fi network in the Gaillard Center.

I can’t replicate that part online, but you can see the rest of the presentation below.







Additionally, my hope was to leave the audience pondering these ideas:

  • The library world is doing more to protect users privacy in the digital age but MUCH MORE needs to be done. We are years behind where we should be.
  • While guidelines, standards, and better technology are important and can play an important role, we must also, as a profession and industry, become more aware of these issues and learn what we can do to improve our privacy and that of our users on an individual level. We can’t explain and teach if we don’t understand ourselves.
  • We ask others to be transparent about data collection and how the technology is being used but we don’t do the same. Here’s an example in a 2013 infoDOCKET post.
  • Apart from all of the “traditional” reasons why privacy should be an issue for libraries and librarians (it’s always been part of what we stand for, pre-digital), privacy awareness and education is another OPPORTUNITY for libraries and librarians to show their relevancy in today’s world.
About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.