Yahoo! News - Patriot Games


An Anonymous Patron writes "Yahoo! News - Patriot Games -

As the government tries to protect you from terrorists, will it invade your privacy? Here's some new technology that's made privacy advocates nervous."


I can see how this would be of concern to privacy advocates, but I don't see the relevance to libraries. Could someone clarify that point for me?

I quibble with the article's author on one point. She mentions the US-VISIT System and states "US-VISIT ... use technology to weed out bad guys; but in doing so, they collect personal data about millions of law-abiding citizens.". US-VISIT is designed for people from other countries who visit the United States. These people are commonly and legally not known as citizens of the United States. They might be nice people and we certainly want to spend their money here and enjoy themselves; however they are not citizens of the United States and thus they may or may not enjoy the same privacy rights of a US citizen. This is a generally accepted norm. If you visit another country they have every right and obligation to impose some restricitions.

I believe the other program CAPPS does apply to all citizens.

These programs don't bother me as much as the intrusiveness of the IRS. Frankly, they require under the pain and penalty of imprisionment a whole lot more private and personal information. Not only that, they do it every single year.

You are correct. Libraries should leave privacy and all those luxuries to other people. We are at war.

I am still hoping for an intelligent, informed reply, but obviously it won't be coming from you.

It is obliquely relevant to libraries in that it is directly relevant to library patrons. For the literati, the most odious provision in the USA [un]PATRIOT Act is section 215. The common interpretation of that section is that any feebie with a bug up his britches can simply say that someone is a terrorist and use that as an excuse to collect many records that are normally kept private and require a court order to have access to. This includes records on reading material. For some damned fool reason, it also includes medical records. I don't know why; maybe the Bush administration will make it illegal to get sick without health insurance, or just illegal to not buy health insurance as a failure to support the capitalist system, or . . .

Well, let's not go there.

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