Redpath Book Display: Privacy, Surveillance, and Big Data

There has been a proliferation of writing in the last decade or so about Big Tech, Big Data, privacy and surveillance issues, and the societal impacts of algorithms, AI, and social media monopolies, and for good reason. As Silicon Valley continues to significantly influence and shape how we live, work, and communicate with each other, we must think critically about the rise and concentration of these corporate powers. How much of our lives are truly private and what does this mean for how we lead our lives? What are our data privacy rights and how is our information being used? The books on this month’s book display examine these questions and much more. Visit the virtual Redpath Book Display to browse print books, e-books, and documentaries on a wide range of subjects in this area.

See also the Privacy Resources LibGuide to discover tools to enable better privacy practices in your day-to-day life, articles, websites, and more.

Data Tunnel, Pixabay

If you have any questions please email

Privacy Workshops and Resources

Have you heard of the term “privacy paradox”? Simply put, it is a term that can be used to describe the inconsistency of privacy attitudes and privacy behaviour. In other words, knowing what we do about data collection/use and online behavioural tracking, why is it so difficult to make meaningful changes to our online behaviour with regards to protecting our personal data? Research suggests that no comprehensive explanation for the privacy paradox has been found so far. However, a systematic review from 2018 summarizes some of the most popular explanations for the privacy paradox that have been proposed so far. Some more obvious ones include social influence and lack of experience/knowledge, but some are less obvious, including a category the authors call quantum theory. The library is offereing two workshops this semester: Introduction to Digital Privacy and Tools & Taking Control of your Online Privacy. In the second workshop we highlight the privacy paradox because we recognize that taking control is not easy to do (feels impossible at times), regardless of how concerned you are about privacy. To consult a list of books, videos, websites, and tools to learn more about online privacy and how to take steps to safeguard your personal data, check out McGill’s Privacy Resources LibGuide.

Open Access Statement for McGill University Library

McGill Librarians and Archivists are proud to announce the Open Access Statement for McGill University Library. The timing could not be better as libraries all over the world have closed their doors and stopped circulating their print materials in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. These closures have highlighted the need for open and online scholarly resources, now and in the future. That said, free and equitable access to publicly-funded research has always been key to building a healthy and fair society.

What are the benefits of publishing in an open access venue?

– Increased visibility, usage, and impact of your research
– More efficient dissemination compared with traditional publishing models
– Retention of some or all of your copyrights
– Contribution to societal good by providing scholarly content to a global audience
– Rigour of traditional peer-review before publication
– Ongoing feedback through social media

If you want to learn more about how McGill Librarians and Archivists have framed their commitment to open access publishing, please read the full statement here:

Feel free to contact the Library with any questions or comments about this statement:

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash