Freedom of Information and Privacy

March - May 2014

The Freedom of Information and Privacy exhibit explores the overlapping relationship between historical models of how we transmit, share, and receive telecommunicative and digital information and the underlying political associations with the laws governing these procedures. Post-internet culture is experiencing an intriguing clash of governing bodies using the guise of fear, terrorism and censorship to challenge our restrictions of information and privacy,  global open-source communities that collectively advance projects through collaborative design and the millions of everyday social media end-users who simultaneously benefit from the community use and are subjected to security and privacy risks.The physical exhibit correlates the historical similarities of McCarthyism practices to the development of the Patriot Act in order to demonstrate the recurring controversy surrounding the freedom of intellectual information and privacy.

Side by side videos sampling the various speech patterns and linguistic use of McCarthy era anti communist fear and more contemporary language from George W. Bush using global terror as a universal brand for fear. As you review each video please take note of the keywords and terms used by each speaker and how these relate to the importance of laws pertaining to national information and privacy.

Physical Exhibit

The SLCC Digital Archives installed an tie-in exhibit in the alcove of the Markosian Library @ Redwood to provide a physical representation of the online exhibit. George Orwell’s 1984 inspired posters and a complete printout of the US PATRIOT Act hang from the surrounding windows, enclosing the space and offers an eerie surveillance enclosure. Privacy Week infographics are displayed next to Wikipedia extracted images of McCarthyism and the US PATRIOT Act. The exhibit includes several QR links to available resources considering and discussing the freedom of information and privacy.

The Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act, from Wikipedia:

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants nine exemptions to the statute. It was originally signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, despite his misgivings, on July 4, 1966, and went into effect the following year.

The Federal Government’s Freedom of Information Act should not be confused with the different and varying Freedom of Information Acts passed by the individual states. Many of those state acts may be similar but not identical to the federal act.

Freedom of Information Day

Freedom of Information Day is celebrated each year near or on March 16 to align with the birthday of James Madison, the founding father attributed with drafting the original Constitution of the United States. Madison is also often associated with striving for more openness and transparency throughout government policy. Each year, the American Library Assocation (ALA) presents the James Madison award, a national acknowledgement of an organization’s efforts to champion, protect and promote public access to government information and the public’s right to know. The ALA also presents the Eileen Cooke State & Local Madison Award to local organizations raising issues of information access. Cory Doctorow on Information Privacy and Access Video Courtesy of First Amendment Center 16th annual National Freedom of Information Day conference.

Choose Privacy Week

Choose Privacy Week is a week long event initiated by the American Library Association (ALA) in order to raise awareness about our rules, regulations, and perception of privacy in our Post-Internet culture. The week long event includes numerous panels, discussions and generated content that challenges our knowledge of information restrictions and spreads awareness of contemporary privacy issues such as mass surveillance, internet monitoring and selective censorship.

Please visit this ALA site for more information about Choose Privacy Week.

Salt Lake Community College

Taylorsville Redwood Campus

4600 South Redwood Road

Salt Lake City, UT 84123

Markosian Library


SLCC Libraries

Educational Initiatives & IR