It’s not too late to celebrate Data Privacy Week!

Data Privacy Week is the last week of January each year. It began as just one day – January 28th – but has since expanded into a full week and is celebrated around the world. According to the Office of the Privacy Commission of Canada website, “January 28 … commemorate[s] the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.” We celebrate Data Privacy Week to emphasize the importance of valuing and protecting personal information.


Photo by Privecstasy on Unsplash

McGill Library has a Privacy Resources Guide that provides information, links, and tools related to digital privacy. You can also check out the virtual Redpath Book Display from last year: Privacy, Surveillance, and Big Data. All of the books and videos in the display are available through the library.

McGill is an official Data Privacy Week Champion and McGill IT Services is offering some virtual events and a contest over the next couple of weeks. See the calendar here.

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 hssl.library@mcgill.ca.

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.