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Libraries post Patriot Act warnings

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by slam, Mar 11, 2003.

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  1. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    Along with the usual reminders to hold the noise down and pay overdue fines, library patrons in Santa Cruz are seeing a new type of sign these days: a warning that records of the books they borrow may wind up in the hands of federal agents.
    The signs, posted in the 10 county branches last week and on the library's Web site, also inform the reader that the USA Patriot Act "prohibits library workers from informing you if federal agents have obtained records about you."
    "Questions about this policy," patrons are told, "should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. 20530."
    Library goers were swift to denounce the act's provisions.
    "It's none of their business what anybody's reading," said Cathy Simmons of Boulder Creek. "It's counterproductive to what libraries are all about."
    "I'm not reading anything they'd be particularly interested in, but that's not the point," said Ari Avraham of Santa Cruz. "This makes me think of Big Brother."
    The Justice Department says libraries have become a logical target of surveillance in light of evidence that some Sept. 11 hijackers used library computers to communicate with each other.
    But the signs ordered by the Santa Cruz library board -- a more elaborate version of warnings posted in several libraries around the nation -- are adding to the heat now being generated by a once-obscure provision of the Patriot Act.
    Section 215 of the act allows FBI agents to obtain a warrant from a secret federal court for library or bookstore records of anyone connected to an investigation of international terrorism or spying.
    Unlike conventional search warrants, there is no need for agents to show that the target is suspected of a crime or possesses evidence of a crime. As the Santa Cruz signs indicate, the law prohibits libraries and bookstores from telling their patrons, or anyone else, that the FBI has sought the records.
    The provision was virtually unnoticed when the Patriot Act, a major expansion of government search and surveillance authority, was passed by Congress six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But in the last year, Section 215 has roused organizations of librarians and booksellers into a burst of political activity, and is being cited increasingly by critics as an example of the new law's intrusiveness.

    Original Article
  2. George Orwell appears to have only been off by a couple of decades.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    He was really writing about what he saw in 1948 - he just switched the last two digits!! ;)

    But isn't this a political thread? :confused:
  4. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    As long as nobody posts their political opinions I dont see why this should be regarded as anything more than reporting on what is happening in America.

  5. If it isn't, it will probably get there eventually. It's hard to tell these days, and I don't mean that sarcastically. Everything seems to be "politicized".
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Someone will. And lo, the mods will descend from on high, and close the thread.
  7. HeavyDuty

    HeavyDuty Supporting Curmudgeon Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2000
    Suburban Chicago, IL
    So long as I don't inhale, I can't be arrested for smoking this joint.

  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well presumably the original poster had some reason or point to make, by posting this - that is, they disagreed with this policy or thought it ridiculous and that means a direct criticism of the government policy?

    Otherwise - it was a bit of a waste
    of time! ;)
  9. slam

    slam Guest

    Mar 22, 2000
    No, I posted this because I wanted people to be aware of what is happening in America. There are people here who have not even heard of the Patriot Act. People need to know about it.
  10. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Maybe they were trying to perform a public service and didn't post for personal gain? The fact that they are shedding light on a certain part of the USA (un)Patriot Act that can affect many people on this message board makes the post worthwhile.

    slam, you got your post in while I was putting mine together! :)
  11. jcadmus


    Apr 2, 2000
    And we have a winner -- the first person to inject a political statement into the discussion!

    Tell him what he's won, Johnny...

    As usual, people are going to get wrapped around the axle about this, when it reality it will have no impact on their lives...

    ...unless they happen to be checking out books on bombmaking and aviation...
  12. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    It is riding the line on political. It may or may not become a pissing contest. It maybe relevant. It may not. I may keep it open. I may not. I may agree or disagree. I may not even know what a library is. Ok this getting old.

    Im closing it because I dont want everyone and their brother testing the moratorium that is in place.

    A heads up!!
    There is an incentive to become a paying member. Its called the lounge where you can discuss things such as this.

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