Working with SLIC, CILIPS and the Library Freedom Project, alongside library staff and technologists from the UK and the US, Scottish PEN has developed a toolkit to offer practical guidance for library staff and users to learn more about threats to their digital security and privacy and take steps to protect themselves.

In the age of big data and advanced state and private surveillance systems, as well as the increasing use of online services in libraries, it is vital that library staff members and users have the resources and expertise to navigate the complex issues related to data sharing and the internet more broadly. 

This is where this toolkit comes in. It is an easy-to-use and practical toolkit that offers guidance on different technologies, tools and practices that can help libraries support their staff and users. It is aimed at users with a basic level of tech literacy and prioritises tools that are free of charge and, where possible, open-source.

The toolkit includes:

  • An introduction to surveillance law in the UK
  • Threat modelling
  • Creating and storing strong passphrases, including the use of password managers and two-factor authentication
  • Choosing a browser and search engine that limits data collection
  • Tor and anonymous browsing
  • Secure communication and file-sharing
  • Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
  • Blocking adverts and other trackers
  • Using HTTPS and encrypting devices
  • Basics for physical security
  • A glossary of terms and links

Libraries are vital resources for communities across Scotland, enabling them to communicate with friends and family around the world, research information they need, participate online and express themselves freely. This is especially true when we look at marginalised communities, who significantly benefit from Privacy-Enhancing Technologies and we hope libraries can offer them the expertise and resources to help them learn more about their online behaviour and the tools needed to protect themselves.

Access the Toolkit