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In Sam Lavigne’s Verified Purchases, a computer program searches for a sample of books in Mill Basin Library’s collection as of November 15, 2018. The software compiles lists of who purchased each book and all the other products they have bought on Amazon. These lists of “related purchases” are then printed on small cards and placed into books in the library’s collection, revealing the scope of knowledge that Amazon has about its customers.

About Sam Lavigne

Sam Lavigne is an artist and educator whose work deals with data, surveillance, police, natural language processing, and automation.


Privacy in Public is brought to you by NYC Digital Safety: Privacy & Security, a new initiative to bring resources covering digital privacy and data security to the City’s frontline public library staff. Learn more about this initiative at

With support from the City of New York Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the project will ensure that NYC residents can rely on public libraries for their questions about internet privacy and security.

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