Patriot Act

Patriot Act

Judge Rules Against Patriot Act Provision

Fang-Face writes "In the continuing saga of USAPA, the law has suffered another setback. An article from Reuters,
and reprinted at, reports that a federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional the provision forbidding people from admitting they had been interrogated or interviewed under USAPA. This means that librarians can now put us signs saying that the FBI had indeed been in the library under S.215 -- should it ever happen or if it already has."


No, YOU check THIS out: Librarians respond to the USA PATRIOT Act

No, YOU check THIS out is an article from Jessamyn West on The USA PATRIOT act, and how librarians reacted. Librarians were not amused, Librarians got annoyed, Librarians got organized....


Big Brother is Watching in Skokie...and Across the US

Britain's Observer-Guardian has a special report about changes in privacy and civil rights since the implementation of the Patriot Act here in the States post 9/11.

The article
starts as follows: "The message of the posters on the walls of Skokie library is plain: Big Brother is watching you. The signs, put up by librarian Caroline Anthony, warn of the radical new laws that have given the American government power to monitor the reading habits of its citizens without telling them."

It then goes on to discuss how the Patriot Act has affected the following: detention without grounds, air and ground travel, internet use, use of phones and e-mail, and treatment of foreign residents and visitors to the U.S. Also discussed were several suits filed on behalf of citizens opposed to the Act and Attorney General Ashcroft's "road show" to sell Americans on the benefits of the Act.


Secret-Court Rules Are Apparent Catch-22, Critics Say

Fang-Face writes "The American Library Association has a brief article about a
USAPA Catch-22. Although the DOJ has asserted that anyone who is targeted by USAPA can challenge such an order before a secret court, only government lawyers are allowed to appear before such a court. Sounds like a conflict of interest, to me, not to mention a denial of the right to face your accuser in an open court."


Feds Backs Wiretapping of Internet person sends "this article about a preliminary decision by the FCC that will require Broadband providers and Internet phone services to comply with requirements designed for the traditional phone network. In brief, the decision is designed to help police and spy agencies eavesdrop on all forms of high-speed Internet access, including cable modems, wireless, satellite and broadband over power lines."


LegalTimes article labels Obama Patriot Act riff "overly simplistic"

conservator writes "An article on the Patriot Act at ("Pitching the Patriot Act") compares DOJ and ACLU attempts to spin the Patriot Act. Author Vanessa Blum cites Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama's oblique reference to the Patriot Act during his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention as an example of an "overly simplistic" association in the public mind between the Patriot Act (see Ashcroft-as-demon icon, right) and unbridled government snooping on the books they read."


ACLU Pulls out of Federal Donation Program

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stands to lose half a million dollars by pulling out of the Combined Federal Campaign which allows federal employees to give money to non-profit groups through payroll deduction. The ACLU gave their rationale in a press release on their website

"It is increasingly clear that the Patriot Act and the government's 'war on terror' are threatening the ability of America's non-profit charities to do their essential work," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a letter to campaign director Mara Patermaster. "By requiring non-profit charities to check their employees against a 'black list' in order to receive donations from the CFC, you are furthering a climate of fear and intimidation that undermines the health and well-being of this nation."

More from


What are the 874 Books on the FBI's watch List?

Zorro7 writes "A paid subscription political-economic online newsletter I subscribe to called "Al Martin Raw" last week made a rather startling announcement, from a librarian-standpoint. After summarizing the July 8th Patriot Acts' reaffirmation of the part of the act that allows the feds to snoop on your library book borrowing habits and book-buying habits, he says this: "As it relates to booksellers, it further authorizes the FBI to force booksellers to turn over a list to the FBI of all book titles that they may be selling and all book titles that their customers may have requested. This was the part that was very controversial to librarians and others concerned about the vast power of this; in that it effectively gives government the ability not only to monitor what people read but to use that monitoring system as a basis for declaring people to be seditious or otherwise targeting citizens for special investigation." But hat's nothing:
it gets much more interesting.
He continues, "It's interesting to note some of the books that are on the FBI's so-called potentially seditious list. They include Presidential historian Dr. Michael Beschloss's book on Thomas Jefferson and the Constitution. That was reported on FSTV, which went through a list of books. Many of the books considered seditious are books that detail citizens' rights and liberties under the Constitution and the Bill of Rights." Then he mentions that Ashcroft said they merely were looking to find people checking out bomb-making books, etc, which, says Martin, "was completely false."

But here's the REALLY interesting, pay dirt quote from the article:


Looking at the Patriot Act & Privacy Rights

"Congress recently voted not to block a portion of the Patriot Act allowing the government to monitor Americans' reading habits. What clinched the vote was information provided by the Justice Department indicating that last spring a suspected terrorist had used e-mail services at a public library.

As terrifying as this idea might be, what was even more terrifying to Samuel Dash were the incursions already made on Americans' rights. The Patriot Act now allows the government to tap phones and search homes without probable cause. Government agents may also sneak into homes of Americans and obtain evidence without giving residents prior notice." Read More.


British Columbia to Guard Privacy Against Patriot Act

British Columbia has announced plans to stop any far-reaching effects the U.S. Patriot Act may have on the privacy of people in B.C. The province will introduce rules this fall to forbid Canadian subsidiaries of American companies from handing over private information to American law enforcement agencies.
Read More.


Ashcroft’s Patriot Act Report to Congress Omits Key Information, ACLU Says

Fang-Face writes "The American Civil Liberties Union has
a rather critical commentary about the USAPA report to Congress
. ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero commented about it:

"President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft need to spend less time waging public relations campaigns and more time responding to the specific, legitimate concerns of the American people. It’s astounding that the Attorney General could release a 30-page report on the Patriot Act and never mention some of the provisions that are most controversial."

Well, you know some people; they wouldn't be happy if you hanged them with a new rope."


Justice Deptartment Details Patriot Act Cases

This one comes by way of the AP via Yahoo News...

"The Justice Department has given Congress three dozen examples of how the Patriot Act has been used to prosecute terrorists and other criminals, part of an administration effort to counter criticism that the law does more to harm civil liberties than to protect the nation.

The report did not mention some more controversial powers, such as the FBI's ability to obtain library and bookstore records in terrorism cases or the so-called "sneak and peek" search warrants in which agents need not immediately tell suspects their home or business had been searched." Read More.


Unpatriotic acts

Anonymous Patron writes "Using the News Cluster Feature at Google News (why is that still labeled beta?) you can get a good look at reactions to the latest PATRIOT vote in the US House.

"Rigged Patriot Act vote reeks of GOP partisanship" and "House GOP defeats effort to curb Patriot Act library snooping" are just a couple of the more interesting looking titles. A search for house patriot act vote turns up a good number of interesting stories as well. The vote happened on The 8th Of July."


GOP lobbying defeats bid to curb Patriot Act

An Anonymous Patron writes "News That An effort to ban the government from demanding records from libraries and book sellers in some terrorism investigations fell one vote short of passage in the House on Thursday after a late burst of lobbying prompted eight Republicans to switch their votes.
The vote, which ended in a deadlock, 210-210, amounted to a referendum on the anti-terrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act and reflected deep divisions in Congress over whether the law undercuts civil liberties. Under House rules, a tie vote meant the measure was defeated.

OP/ED Piece from The Boulder News is worth a read as well."


House Refuses to Curb Patriot Act

From Netscape News:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican-led House bowed to a White House veto threat Thursday and stood by the USA Patriot Act, defeating an effort to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that helps the government investigate people's reading habits.

The effort to defy Bush and bridle the law's powers lost by 210-210, with a majority needed to prevail. The amendment appeared on its way to victory as the roll call's normal 15-minute time limit expired, but GOP leaders kept the vote open for about 20 more minutes as they persuaded about 10 Republicans who initially supported the provision to change their votes.

``Shame, shame, shame,'' Democrats chanted as the minutes passed and votes were switched. The tactic was reminiscent of last year's House passage of the Medicare overhaul measure, when GOP leaders held the vote open for an extra three hours until they got the votes they needed.

The effort to curb the Patriot Act was pushed by a coalition of Democrats and conservative Republicans. But they fell short in a showdown that came just four months before an election in which the conduct of the fight against terrorism will be on the political agenda.


Library Chief May Refuse to Give Feds Patron Info

The Director of the Boston Public Library says he "would consider breaking the Patriot Act if asked to disclose patron information." He goes on to say that "Clearly, the challenge for people like me who believe in librarianship and the principles of free speech means if I were to receive such a request, I would have to give very strong consideration to going public with that." According to the ALA, "they are not aware of any case in which the FBI has sought data on library patrons." Read More.


Are John Ashcroft's pants on fire?

Fang-Face writes "There is a brief article at American Libraries Online that states:
the Department of Justice invoked Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act on October 15, 2003. This was after Ashcroft said it had never been used, but that was the time he said concerns about USAPA S215 were "baseless hysteria".

The release also disclosed an internal FBI memo dated October 29, 2003, acknowledging that the provision can be used to obtain information about innocent people, which runs counter to the government’s previous assertions it can only be utilized against suspected terrorists and spies.

Whoa! An FBI memo says what we free speakers have been saying about USAPA all along? Who've thunk it?"


Patriot Act Amendment House Vote

Rich writes "The Bill of Rights Defense Committee request that people call their House rep no later than Tuesday, July 6 to support the Sanders-Paul-Conyers-Otter-Nadler Amendment to the Commerce, Justice, State, and Judiciary Appropriation Bill of 2005 which will cut off funds for library and bookstore searches under the USA Patriot Act Section 215. "Passage of this amendment would still allow the FBI to use all constitutionally sanctioned means to obtain warrants and criminal subpoenas to access library and bookstore records pertinent to investigations related to terrorism or criminal acts." This amendment is similar to the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R.1157)
Here's the full story:

To contact your House rep:"


ALA to poll on Patriot Act usage

The ALA is getting Some Press Coverage from an AP Story that says it will survey thousands of libraries to determine how often federal agents have used the USA Patriot Act to try to secretly obtain patrons’ records.
Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said the idea that agents are running around libraries is absurd. "I would be happy for them to do" the survey, he said.


Berkeley City Council takes stand against PATRIOT Act

documentation writes "Librarian's stand against federal law
(by Humphrey Hawksley, BBC correspondent in Washington)
President Bush has strongly defended the Patriot Act. The Berkeley City Council has decided not to obey should the FBI try to impose it.
BBC Has The Story"



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