A Retreat from the Panoptic: One Public Library's Experience with Video Surveillance

27 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2014 Last revised: 1 Apr 2015

See all articles by Bryce Clayton Newell

Bryce Clayton Newell

University of Oregon - School of Journalism and Communication; Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

David Randall

University of Washington - The Information School

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

This paper, originally presented at a Special Workshop on Information Privacy at iConference 2013 in Fort Worth, Texas on Feb. 12, 2013, presents the findings of a qualitative case study examining why one public library installed video surveillance systems and then later reversed course and completely removed the previously installed systems. We found that the library initially installed the system as a response to specific incidents of crime without central administrative oversight, and that the removal was prompted by deteriorating relationships with local police departments over the library’s position that the video footage was exempt from public disclosure under the state’s library records privacy law. The library system subsequently removed all of their cameras in 2011, claiming the cameras were not in sync with library commitments to intellectual freedom and patron privacy, despite the fact that library staff expressed strong interest in retaining the cameras and were concerned about staff safety and crime prevention. We also found evidence of surveillance creep.

Keywords: surveillance, privacy, library, freedom of information, access to information, law, qualitative research, case study

Suggested Citation

Newell, Bryce Clayton and Randall, David, A Retreat from the Panoptic: One Public Library's Experience with Video Surveillance (2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2482722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2482722

Bryce Clayton Newell (Contact Author)

University of Oregon - School of Journalism and Communication ( email )

Eugene, OR
United States

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

P.O. Box 90153
TILT
Tilburg, Noord Brabant 5000 LE
Netherlands

David Randall

University of Washington - The Information School ( email )

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
31
Abstract Views
474
PlumX Metrics