Last week the Boston Phoenix revealed what a Facebook subpoena would look like if law enforcement decides to knock on Zuckerberg’s door. The Boston Police Department gained access to lists of convicted killer Philip Markoff’s friends, IP logins, photos, tags, and messages.

Clicking on each of the slides, you could see he had 308 Friends, many had wished him a happy birthday, many girls posed with him, people tagged him while he was eating and drinking — this supposedly painted a portrait of his lifestyle.

From the summaries of the pages, all I could see would be really important to the BPD, was that it linked Markoff to his physical address.

So what about everything else? It says “confidential” — yet it has been broadcasted all over the news. In some states, the Stored Communications Act should have prevented disclosure of such information — even if it belongs to a convicted criminal. And what’s more, nothing on the FB pages revealed to me the sinister mind of a serial killer.

I know what you’re thinking, “Well, I’m not a serial killer!” True, neither am I. However, I was sufficiently chilled when I saw the evidence on the wall — the Facebook Wall, that is. And if you are too, it’s time to join the “privacy revolution.” None of your information is safe unless you consciously make a decision to protect it.

Now, I hope I don’t sound like my Chinese mother, who without the nagging, makes a lot of sense. You can still remain authentic and allow people to wish you a happy birthday. Spread the word to patrons that you can control who you let in as friends and what information apps can reap from you. Your information is precious and a valuable commodity to others — don’t throw it to the wind or the “Facebook Walls.”

Choose Privacy May 1st-7th , choose “Freedom from Surveillance” and help patrons make more conscious decisions about what they post on the wall.

Reward yourself with an embedded CPW badge or banner, free to post on your site as your avatar, logo, etc. Thanks for joining the campaign!



By Ann Crewdson, King County Library System, Issaquah Library, Children’s Section Supervisor


  1. Barbara Jones, executive director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), highlights the importance of privacy rights in today’s digital age with a new video podcast in honor of Choose Privacy Week, May 1 – 7, 2012.

    In the podcast, Jones discusses how new technologies have made it possible for organizations and government agencies to monitor our everyday activities through surveillance, and the choices we can make to protect our privacy.

    See video:

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