Even the libraries can't escape expanded powers to spy

This story comes from the Star Ledger in NJ about the Associate Director, Karen Avenick, at South County Regional Library System and when the Police called on the library on October 12, 2001 to demand library records and several computers.

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Investigation, not spying

It is not surprising after 9/11 that police are investigating more rigorously than before. And sure, the police should have the relevant warrants for searches and records. But, if such investigations are going to prevent another attack like 9/11, then it should be encouraged not criticised.

Re:Investigation, not spying

I agree with you leeb; and in this case their investigation turned up an Indian physician studying. No crime there.

Isn't that how the system is designed to work? If something suspicious is reported law enforcement is to clarify what is going on or for that matter if something is going on. In this case it wasn't.


The librarian did the correct thing in asking for a clear subpoena (I assume she involved the library counsel) and I would involve library counsel as well. A subpoena is different from a warrant which has more of a sense of immediacy.

However there was nothing to prevent the police from signing up and using the same computer. If the library is that concerned about patron privacy perhaps they should look into something that deletes patron history when the patron is done. Of course it is always more fun to take a stance of moral superiority than to fix the problem. The ALA does that very well.

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