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                          by Jim Hightower

 

 

 

 

INVADING YOUR LIBRARY RECORDS

You can trust your government, right?

That's what the Bushites told us and the congress in 2001, when they rushed into law their USA Patriot Act, which included Section 215, a provision allowing the FBI to seize our personal library records without even getting a search warrant. Trust us, they said we won't misuse this autocratic, un-American power of intrusion into people's privacy.

You could ask a library consortium in Connecticut about the value of this assurance. This group was stunned to receive an FBI demand to turn over its records on the reading habits and Internet use of some of its patrons. Under the expanded law, such executive subpoenas are issued without any judge's approval basically, the FBI simply writes a letter to itself authorizing its agents to seize the material, without specifying any charges of wrongdoing by the library patrons.

While you could ask the Connecticut library about this invasion, it could not respond, for the law also permanently bars any library "from disclosing to any person that the FBI has sought or obtained access to information or records." This is the stuff of a police-state government agents can grab your records and gag your librarians!

The Connecticut case is especially important, for it is the first confirmed instance of the FBI using the Patriot Act to get library records. The Bushites had claimed earlier that they have never used Section 215, calling critics of the provision "hysterical." But librarians are hardly hysterics they are no-nonsense people who dig out facts. In a survey of its members, the American Library Association found that government agents have asked for the records of library patrons more than 200 times since the law passed.

This is Jim Hightower saying... Diligence against abusive police power is not hysteria it's patriotism. To fight the liberty-busting power of Section 215, call the Library Association: 1-800-545-2433.

 

Sources:

"F.B.I., Using Patriot Act, Demand's Library's Records," New York Times, August 26, 2005.

(c) 2005, Copyright - Saddleburr Productions, Inc. This essay is herein reprinted with the author's permission.

 


Posted  October 05, 2005

URL:  www.thecitizenfsr.org                     SM 2000-2011                


 


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