Librarian Who Resisted FBI Says Patriot Act Invades Privacy


One From The AP: A librarian who fended off an FBI demand for computer records on patrons said Wednesday that secret anti-terrorism investigations strip away personal freedoms.

"Terrorists win when the fear of them induces us to destroy the rights that make us free," said George Christian, executive director of Library Connection, a consortium of 27 libraries in the Hartford, Conn., area.


“It is the responsibility of the patriot to protect his country from its government.â€Thomas Paine

When you can find patron barcode numbers in the pull down menus at public terminals of some Library Connection libraries, it reeks of liberal hypocrisy.

How so?

What is it possible to do with this number? Does it not require a PIN/Password as well? Can someone rattle off the number and retrieve their complete reading history from the circulation desk? I really doubt it. Please give some examples of what can be accomplished with this number. I'm not saying having access to that number is a good thing but I don't read it as hypocrisy.

It would allow them to identify the user (probably) and certain see what they were looking at.The issue is that they did not have a warrant but a "letter" and Christian's group, and the libraries who use them, refused to comply.

This road show is currently touring and telling all who would listen that their mandate by state law is to preserve the privacy of their beloved patrons. The facts are quite different when a great number of Connecticut library card numbers are publicly available as a result of mismanagement and neglect. Further details of this situation are withheld. Library Connection delivers a Sirsi/iBistro system with a default user password set the same for all patrons.

Er... doesn't that seem like an additional privacy issue for the group to be concerned about? How does that specifically affect these people (ie, do they have control over this situation, is this a problem at their library, and so on)?

Does the fact that the police and the courts, unavoidably, make mistakes in the issuance and execution of warrants obviate everyone's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure? This is just two problems, not one reason for not doing the other.

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