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Tim passed along This Wired Story we missed on librarians\' response to law enforcement requests for patrons\' records in the year following the passage of the Patriot Act.
They talk about This Survey [PDF] done by The Library Research Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign that found in the year following the Sept. 11 attacks, federal and local law enforcement agents visited at least 545 libraries to inquire after patrons\' records.
When asked to voluntarily forfeit patrons\' records, roughly half the librarians cooperated with investigators without demanding a subpoena or court order, the study found.
Another paper has picked up on the Patriot Act thread we are all familiar with by now. This time it\'s the Public Opinion Online from Chambersburg, PA.
The editorial says The USA Patriot Act goes too far and infringes upon freedoms.
They say snooping into library or bookstore records is like trying to find murderers by discovering who reads murder mysteries, and Searching for information should not be a criminal act.
Public Library\'s director, Gary Strong, got
a great quote: \"We\'re not in a position of making
judgments. We are in the position of providing free and
unfettered access to all kinds of information, and that\'s
the traditional role that libraries have played...
Searching for information is not a criminal act.\"
The NYTimes Has One on the Patriot Act Teleconference.Although some of the librarians calling in from among the 250 sites in a national teleconference suggested defiance of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, all the speakers said proper federal requests for data should be dutifully complied with, but only when a proper court order was served and not just because an F.B.I. agent asked for information.
\"We believe that what you read is nobody\'s business but your own,\" Ms. Krug continued. \"If you convert what you read into illegal behavior, then there are laws to deal with that. But just because someone reads how to build a bomb doesn\'t mean you\'re a bomber. There is no way you can tell.\"
Wired has This Story on the Homeland Security Act.
They say while it has some positive aspects, the Homeland Security Act is also full of worrisome surprises for U.S. citizens concerned about their freedoms, particularly when combined with last year's USA PATRIOT Act. New surveillance measures, big business perks, and beats up the Freedom of Information Act.
"It's been hard enough in the best of times to get companies and government agencies to admit their mistakes and abuses. Now, thanks to the Homeland Security Act, we may have more of a reason to fear those very actions than we do the terrorist threats that the new law is supposed to address. "
They also have One On the Pentagon's proposed Total Information Awareness System.
Robin K. Blum noticed This One that has librarians and booksellers working together to oppose the USA Patriot Act. They have an Open Letter to Vermont\'s Congressional Delegation, urging Senators Leahy and Jeffords and Congressman Sanders to introduce legislation to eliminate provisions in the USA Patriot Act that undermine Americans\' Constitutionally guaranteed right to read and access information without governmental intrusion or interference.
Another Story on the Patriot Act, and the the University of Illinois study that said 83 out of 1,200 libraries have been approached by the FBI seeking access to patrons' records. This one points out, The PATRIOT Act provides for some reimbursement of costs if it is asked by law enforcement to provide certain types of assistance in data collection.
ThruthOut.org has This One lamenting the first anniversary of The Usa Patriot Act. They say developments since the PATRIOT Act have seen the formation of trends which, left unchecked, may fulfill the most dire predictions of those who have taken a long look at this comprehensive statute.
Eddie B. passed along The Buffalo News Story on the Patriot Act. Brian Lampkin, proprietor of Rust Belt Books in Buffalo, said he would refuse to cooperate with the FBI if served with a court order.
"I particularly feel strongly about this," Lampkin said. "I could never betray people who rely on me in such a manner. I'm not naive about the consequences of taking a stand, but I think the dangers of not taking a stand outweigh what may or may not happen to me."