Patriot Act

Libraries, government at odds over Patriot Act

"Librarians aren't a subversive bunch, as a rule. But a perceived erosion of First Amendment and privacy rights under the USA Patriot Act has spurred them to undertake a quiet rebellion across New York and the nation."

"Institutions founded as repositories of information are moving to pare the data on patrons and their borrowing habits to an absolute minimum out of concern they are open to FBI review."

"Quite a number of librarians are taking action to make sure they're only keeping records they need," said Diane Berry, an automation consultant at the Mid-York Library System, serving Madison, Oneida and Herkimer counties. "I tell them: 'If you have any unnecessary records, dump them.'" (from The Times Union)


Support for Libraries from American Physical Society

Bill Drew writes "This came in from Robert L. Park of the American Physical Society. There's more at :"
They cover Rep.
Bernie Sanders' Freedom to Read
Protection Act (H.R. 1157). So far, there are 70 cosponsors.
They also mention the FBI'S "LIBRARY AWARENESS PROGRAM." Unfortunately, the goal of the program was not to improve the
literacy of agents. The full story of the
infamous Library Awareness Program is told by librarian Herb
Foerstel in "Surveillance in the Stacks"(Greenwood Press, 1991).


Libraries learn how to protect patrons from Patriot Act

This Star-Ledger Story has news on a New Jersey Library Association seminar for librarians to seek guidance on how to comply with government laws while protecting their patrons' privacy.

"If I take out a biography of Osama bin Laden, or if I buy a book on terrorism, is there somebody going to be checking this out and wondering if I'm a terrorist?" asked Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who sponsored the bill. "In a nation that prides itself on being a free nation, which prides itself on making sure you can read anything you want to read, this is a very, very bad step."


One's reading habits are all too public, like it or not

Fred D. writes "Nothing really new here, but St. Paul Pioneer Press Laura Billings summarizes recent PATRIOT Act-related developments, and discusses why people should be taking more of an interest. An excerpt:

"My good friends at sent me an e-mail the other day telling me about several new offerings that — based on our previous relationship — they knew I'd just love. The list included a new book about the Irish Republican Army, the new DVD of "Black Hawk Down" and a Celestron Nexstar 60GT telescope with a 2.4-inch diameter refractor.

It's true those kids at Amazon know my buying habits pretty well. After all, my family includes one guy obsessed with Irish history and another who loves military movies, and I have a sort of a thing for high-tech optical gadgets.

Of course, if you don't know me so well, you could also conclude that I have a strange fascination with English-speaking terrorists, enjoy films about failed U.N. peacekeeping missions and want to watch my neighbors through a 700 mm lens."

The column is available at "


Arcata, California, to penalize officials who cooperate with Patriot Act

The San Francisco Chronicle is Reporting Arcata, that tiny North Coast bastion of the robustly liberal, has quietly made itself the first city in the nation to outlaw voluntary compliance with the USA Patriot Act.

Town leaders know their new law outlawing the bigger law is probably illegal. And they don't know anyone local who's had troubles because of the Patriot Act.


Why we may never regain the liberties that we've lost

Dan Gillmor Has Penned a rather sad look at the fabled pendulum of liberty. He says liberties ebbed and flowed in America's past, but the rights tended to come back when the crises ended. Not so this time, for several reasons.
The damage that one evil or deranged person or group can cause has grown, and the architecture of tomorrow is being embedded with the tools of a surveillance society. In other words, the ``war on terrorism'' can't possibly end.

"The Bush administration's attitude, assisted by a Congress that long since abandoned any commitment to liberty, is that government has the right to know absolutely everything about you and that government can violate your fundamental rights with impunity as long as the cause is deemed worthy."


Librarians Make Some Noise Over Patriot Act

Midge Coates notes, The PATRIOT act continues to get press for libraries, this time from The Washington Post.
They say across the country, in a movement that belies their staid image, librarians are rising up in anger and rallying against a law the Justice Department calls one of its most important new tools to help catch terrorists before they strike.

\"This law is dangerous,\" said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA\'s Washington office. \"I read murder mysteries -- does that make me a murderer? I read spy stories -- does that mean I\'m a spy? There\'s no clear link between a person\'s intellectual pursuits and their actions.\"


Librarians Make Some Noise Over Patriot Act

SomeOne writes "Washington post has a story about librarians and the patriot act. A good article, but it does have some stereotypical portrayls of librarians: "Wilson is not accustomed to protest. Her days are spent quietly tending to aisles of books in this immigrant community near Los Angeles. But now she is at the forefront of an unusual rebellion."
Oh Please...."


Republicans Want Terror Law Made Permanent

The NYTimes Says Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
When it passed in October 2001, moderates and civil libertarians in Congress agreed to support it only by making many critical provisions temporary. Those provisions will expire, or "sunset," at the end of 2005 unless Congress re-authorizes them.

"The Patriot Act has been an extremely useful tool, a demonstrated success, and we don't want that to expire on us," a senior department official said on condition of anonymity.


Throwing the book at us

SomeOne writes "The Village Voice has This Story about librarians getting visits from the FBI and other officials. Nothing new, just good to see this covered in a major paper. "



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