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Call for comment: What does Cambridge Analytica tell us about the importance of librarians?

By Clare Brown and Remy Maisel

Privacy is in the news again. The GDPR looms, and there are endless stories about the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal. Resident law librarian Clare Brown recently attended the CLSIG lecture ‘Information architecture and artificial intelligence’ which synthesised some of the current concerns about the extent to which we have shared our personal data.


People’s fear of AI has inspired many sci-fi movies. For instance I, Robot, in which everyone thinks the robotic service workers are harmless, except one technophobic cop who suspects one of the robots of murder. But like many legal AI experts, Alex Smith, presenter of the CLSIG lecture, says that the real danger is human beings with access to sensitive information.

It was the people behind Cambridge Analytica who caused the problem, not the algorithms themselves. We are many years away from murderous androids, but tech companies are already misusing our personal information.

Who should be the stewards of information today? Data professionals, corporations, or should we take responsibility for it ourselves?

How can we trust big companies with our data, when they’ve not proven themselves trustworthy? How can we rely on their music recommendations, or which electronics to purchase? Will zombie data, which we thought was deleted but still exists somewhere in the ‘series of tubes’ that is the Internet, come back to bite us?

In a time when almost anyone has unprecedented power to access and share information, we’re interested in what you think. Particularly if you’re an information professional or an expert in privacy or business ethics.

Please click the button to submit your comment for consideration (by April 4th). It may be included in Clare’s blog about data privacy. If you have something to add but don’t wish to be quoted, please feel free to comment below as usual.


click here to give us your input about data privacy


Topics: Current awareness Data Company Announcements Team Vable Data protection GDPR