Library offers help protecting online privacy

03/23/18

As revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data raise privacy questions, Cornell University Library is offering drop-in hours, workshops and consultations to help students, faculty and staff understand and mitigate their privacy risks online.

Cornellians can find out how to make their personal data more secure, or learn more about how companies are tracking their online habits and physical movements, during the Digital CoLab’s new drop-in hour, Mondays from 3 to 4 p.m. in 701 Olin Library.

Library staff can help install tracking blockers, password managers, two-factor authentication and other security tools on your devices, and help you assess when to turn to more advanced tools like the Tor browser or a VPN.

Those who can’t make the drop-in hour, or who have specific issues, can arrange a consultation with Eliza Bettinger, digital humanities librarian. Bettinger is also available to lead workshops for classes, groups and departments.

Workshops can be customized for students or faculty who communicate with people whose identities must be kept confidential, as well as for those who may face heightened risk of online harassment because of potentially controversial work.

“It can be overwhelming to come to understand the extent to which private details about our lives are vulnerable to exploitation,” Bettinger said. “The good news is that it is possible take steps to lessen your risk and to exercise more control over your data.”

A version of this story first appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.