US Libraries Rally Against USA Patriot Act

privacy       2003-05-07 
Librarians across the country are rising up against the USA Patriot Act, shredding records and making other attempts to thwart the legal framework in the war on terror.
Librarian Cindy Czesak is in the vanguard of the rebellion at the Paterson Public Library (search) in Paterson, N.J., a densely-populated Middle Eastern community.
"We're quiet rebels," she said.
Czesak, like hundreds of her fellow librarians around the country, says the Patriot Act makes what people read and borrow from libraries fair game in the name of tracking terrorists.
The Patriot Act, enacted in October 2001 in direct response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that year, broadly expands the powers of federal law enforcement agencies investigating cases involving foreign intelligence and international terrorism.
The measure requires local governments to disclose personal information -- such as library records -- about certain people who may be connected to a terror investigation. FBI agents can obtain a warrant for library or bookstore records of anyone thought to be involved in a plot. Librarians then aren't allowed to discuss the investigation.