Patriot Act

Librarians, U.S. attorneys squaring off

The Chicago Sun Times says that loud "Shhhhh!" you hear Monday may be the sound of 25,000 librarians reacting to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's defense of the government's right to confiscate people's library records. Fitzgerald has volunteered to take his campaign for renewal right into the heart of the opposition today, debating Colleen Connell, director of the Chicago office of the American Civil Liberties Union, which takes the librarians' side.

Library records safe under the Patriot Act

An Editorial says Many of the Patriot Act’s provisions, including the more controversial provisions concerning library records and so-called “sneak and peak� searches, do not provide new and unprecedented investigative tools to law enforcement officials. Rather, the Patriot Act allows law enforcement officials to now use tools long available to them regarding organized crime, child pornography, or drug investigations when conducting international terrorism investigations.
Unfortunately, much of the debate regarding the Patriot Act has become so exaggerated and distorted that the thoughtful deliberation which reauthorization of this important law deserves is too often missing.

Librarians, U.S. attorneys squaring off

Anonymous Patron writes about this Chicago Sun Times story,

"That loud "Shhhhh!" you hear Monday may be the sound of 25,000 librarians reacting to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's defense of the government's right to confiscate people's library records.

Fitzgerald, like many U.S. attorneys around the country, has become a roving defender of the USA Patriot Act and its most controversial provision allowing federal investigators to seize people's library records.

Chief among the critics of that provision, passed in the nervous days after 9/11, is the American Library Association, which is meeting in Chicago this weekend...""


New USAPA amendments regarding libraries

The Senate Intelligence Committee's proposed amendments to the PATRIOT Act are now available as S. 1266.

Aside from other changes that can be debated later, this version of the bill introduces a number of helpful statistical reports regarding Sec. 215 activity in libraries and bookstores, including:

Sec. 811 (b)

Attorney General shall submit to the committees of Congress referred to in subsection (a) and to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report setting forth, with respect to the preceding six-month period--
(1) the total number of administrative sub-poenas issued under this title;
(2) the total number of certifications under section 807(a);
(3) the total number of petitions filed under section 808;
(4) the total number of petitions modified or set aside pursuant to section 808(a); and
(5) the total number of administrative subpoenas issued under this title requiring the production of any records or other materials from or with respect to each of the following:
(A) From a library, as defined in section 213(2) of the Library Services and Technology Act (20 U.S.C. 9122(2)).

(More below the fold)


Watching what we read

Steven M. Cohen writes "From The Herald Tribune:

"Library officials refused to hand over the records and pointed out that a quick Google search showed that the words were from a bin Laden quote. The most likely scenario was that a student doing a paper on the terrorist had scrawled the note in the margin -- a practice frowned upon by librarians but hardly worthy of federal intervention.""


Big Bro Wants Easier Access to Your Net Records

David H. Rothman writes "If you like the Patriot Act, you'll love a proposal to require Internet providers to keep their records on your Net use for a minimum period of time. Bizarre. I thought WE had won the Cold War. It's as the Internet somehow got invented for the convenience of the KGB. (From CNet)


Patriot Act Commentary: Your Fingerprints are Everywhere

Pete writes "The Register (UK) has an interesting commentary on the Patriot Act here:

In 1787, Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the United States and its third President, wrote to Abigail Adams sentences that may seem incredible to many people today:

    "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."

The Naperville Public Library in Naperville, Illinois (the board of which is appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council) is now going to ask patrons to submit fingerprints in order to verify the identities of patrons wishing to use the Internet terminals. Currently, parents can ask the library to filter the Internet access of their kids; according to the library, "filtered" kids are swapping library cards with kids whose parents have not asked for filters, so the little shavers are able to use the network without restrictions."


House votes no on Patriot Act library records provision

The Reader's Shop writes "MSNBC Reports Despite a possible veto from President Bush, the House voted Wednesday to block
the FBI and the Justice Department from using the Patriot Act to search library
and bookstore records. The vote was 238-187."

VT Rep. Bernie Sanders to Introduce Freedom to Read Amendment Today

As early as late today or tomorrow, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is expected to introduce in the U.S. House of Representatives an amendment to the House Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill to cut off funds for library and bookstore searches under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The amendment to the CJS Appropriations Bill, which funds the Justice Department, is co-sponsored by two Republicans -- Rep. Butch Otter (ID) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX)-- and two Democrats -- Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY) and Rep. Tom Udall (NM).

"Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act is part of a dangerous erosion of our Constitutional rights that, little by little, is making us a less free nation," said Congressman Sanders. "American citizens across the political spectrum have made it very clear that they do not want the government monitoring their reading habits when they walk into a library or bookstore. We can protect our nation from terrorism without letting Uncle Sam read over our collective shoulders."

For more information about the Freedom to Read Amendment and the Campaign for Reader Privacy, go to the Bookweb/American Booksellers Association website.


Republicans Criticize PATRIOT Act

Daniel writes "The libertarian Cato Institute has an item on some conservative leaders who are speaking out against the PATRIOT Act renewal and the secret markup by the Senate Intelligence Committee.Moral of passing USAPA: "If you give a mouse a cookie...""


Subscribe to Patriot Act