Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association. The Indiana University libraries define the right to privacy as the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf.
The courts have recognized a right of privacy based on the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. The state of Indiana guarantees privacy in its constitution and statutory law. IU Libraries’ privacy and confidentiality policies are intended to comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws, as well as with any IU policies on privacy, including the IU Policy on Privacy of Information Technology Resources.
User rights, as well as the institution's responsibilities, outlined here are based in part on what are known as Fair Information Practice Principles. These five principles outline the rights of Notice, Choice, Access, Security, and Enforcement.
Our commitment to our users’ privacy and confidentiality has deep roots not only in law but also in the ethics and practices of librarianship. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics: "We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired, or transmitted."