Main Page/Crash Courses/Systems and Policies/Week one

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Week 1: Introduction

  • Welcome everyone! We’re so thrilled to be starting the first LFP Crash Course on Systems and Policies. This week, we’ll be getting acquainted with the course, including curriculum, technology, goals, and each other.

Course overview

Course themes
  • WE ARE STILL IN A PANDEMIC (plus other kinds of social and economic collapse)
  • Systems and policies
  • Surveillance capitalism: politics, ideology, and money behind technologies
  • Privacy and intellectual freedom with a justice-based approach, not just a rights-based approach
  • Privacy strategies and tools with a harm reduction lens
  • Individual vs collective action
LFP background
  • Alison intro
  • Howard intro
  • Brief LFP history
  • How the Crash Courses came to be
Syllabus and weekly layout
  • Eight weeks, roughly five hours a week
  • Weekly commitments: lecture, discussion, readings, tasks.
  • Schedule overview: [1]
  • Weekly meetings are one hour of lecture, one hour of discussion, so please be ready to participate each week!
  • Tasks are things you’re expected to complete every week. There aren’t other assignments except for the final projects. We’ll check in every few weeks about the status of those projects, and when that happens you can share drafts or just outlines or thoughts.
  • Let Alison know if you need to be absent from one of the real-time lectures, or if you need to miss a whole week for any reason.
  • Review code of conduct.
Class technology
  • Discourse messageboard: (register an account)
  • Zoom video/audio chat/recordings (Zoom meeting ID 912-942-8892)
  • Riseup mailing list:
  • Wiki: (register an account)
  • Vimeo archive of lectures:

Please note that all class technology is publicly accessible! That means that the mailing list archives, messageboard, and wiki can all be viewed by anyone. I’ve set it up this way so that the materials we create can easily be shared, but also, I understand that sometimes we might want to talk amongst ourselves, so I’ve created a “private” category on the Discourse messageboard that’s only viewable to our group. You can use this category whenever you want to talk about something that you don’t want the whole world to see.

Outcomes for this cohort
  • Learn to use privacy software that can be installed on patron machines or library workstations
  • Teach your own train-the-trainer workshops to other librarians in your region.
  • Approach members of your community regarding privacy concerns and teach privacy-related community workshops.
  • Use your new role as a Privacy Advocate to influence policy and infrastructure.
  • Encourage community engagement with privacy policy issues
  • Work with your small group to develop a privacy plan that can be implemented in your library or others
Final projects

The final project will be a comprehensive privacy plan for a library. Every group will work together on components of the final project. This final project should choose from and expand on the following components:

  • A library privacy policy and/or example vendor agreement
  • A privacy class
  • A privacy program that isn't a class
  • A display about privacy
  • A flyer or poster about a privacy concept
  • A staff training
  • Something focused on privacy work outside of the library walls, like a letter to a legislator
  • Other ideas that the group wishes to add can be submitted when the group submits their roles, or can be added later

Your final project should be practically-focused and should reflect your own interests! You can see examples of the last cohort's final projects on the LFP website.

Small groups for final projects (TBD)
  • Small group work proved to be really difficult in the third cohort because of the pandemic. Let's discuss how we want to organize our final projects, whether small groups might work for some of us and some other method might work for the rest.

This week only!


We'll begin by getting into some background about what's going on and how we got here. Our focus this week will be on a range of readings...a little bit of the history and politics of Big Data and government surveillance, as well as some of the historical ideas about what a more just internet could look like. We don't have anywhere near the time to go through all of the history here, so we'll just be focusing on some of the bigger issues. Please have the reading completed before our Monday lecture, because we'll spend that lecture talking about what we learned. Later, we'll continue the discussion on You'll also review the Data Detox Kit and complete one day of it for your weekly tasks.

We won't be discussing these readings until week 2! But there are a lot, so you have two weeks to read them.

The Surveillant Assemblage, Kevin D. Haggerty and Richard V. Ericson

A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace by John Perry Barlow (read before reading The Californian Ideology)

The Californian Ideology by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron (read after reading A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace)

The History of Surveillance and the Black Community

Guest lecturer

No guest this week; Alison will lead the lecture

  • What are your personal goals for this course?
   How do you see the surveillant assemblage at work in our lives?
   What stands out to you about the ideologies that helped shape the internet?
  • Lecture, readings and discussion forum
  • Create a account
  • Read through materials on
  • Start readings for next week