Cstout writes: "In my efforts to find instances of direct cooperation between the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU) I discovered Libraryprivacy.org. A joint project of the California Library Association and the ACLU of Southern California, the website is an excellent resource for libraries nationwide to take action against the USA PATRIOT Act.
"The groups, 'believe that these new powers violate the basic tenets of intellectual freedom, that library users should have the right to read free of surveillance, and that a high wall of privacy should be re-established around an individual's private library records.'
"Included on the site are links to articles about the impact of the PATRIOT Act on library privacy, resolutions against the act and a 'Take Action' section that calls for support of amending the Act to protect library use privacy. This is an excellent resource for us in the librarian profession concerned about the privacy and protection of our patrons.
"No one has ever proven that terrorists used library materials or equipment in support of their activities. What has been proven though, is that the Bush administration has no problem secretly spying on American Citizens. The PATRIOT Act just makes it easier. Let's help the ACLU in their efforts to protect our freedom."
From the Burlington Free Press:
"In fall 2001, before the ink had dried on the nation's new anti-terrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, University of Vermont librarian Trina Magi was analyzing how the federal measure would affect the civil liberties of library patrons. The news, Magi concluded, was not good."
Kelly writes: "This is from a NYT article [registration required] today entitled, 'Librarian Is Still John Doe, Despite Patriot Act Revision'"
The hotel ballroom was packed as a sensibly dressed, well-read crowd from around the country gathered in San Antonio on Jan. 21 to celebrate one of their own. Yet, as many expected, the guest of honor was a no-show, despite the $500 intellectual freedom prize that awaited. Attendees at an American Library Association gathering blamed Washington for the empty chair. Lawmakers may be giving themselves credit for having improved safeguards on civil liberties when they reauthorized the nation's antiterrorism law, otherwise known as the USA Patriot Act, earlier this month. But many librarians and civil liberties lawyers say the revisions did nothing to enable the guest of honor to take the stage and discuss the Patriot Act without risk of prosecution. Known as John Doe in court filings, the guest of honor was the Connecticut librarian who was visited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last year and presented with what is known as a national security letter demanding patron records.
Daniel writes "Just put this one on freegovinfo.info: "Today, the Government Printing office announced the availability of H.R. 3199 (USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005) through GPO Access. Also available through GPO Access was President Bush's "Statement on Signing" this piece of legislation, as reported by the March 13, 2006 issue of Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Taken together, the new law and the President's signing statement paint a disturbing yet familar picture -- The President clearly intends to ignore language in the PATRIOT Act reauthorization intended to keep Congress informed of the Administration's use of the Act.""
Newport Daily News (Newport,RI) Has A Report on PATRIOT. Area librarians report no government attempts to access local patrons' records, a power provided by the USA Patriot Act.
But if they had received any FBI inquiries or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, the librarians couldn't tell anyone, anyway.
Secrecy surrounds any surveillance the government undertakes in the name of national security. If the FBI serves a local librarian with a national security letter, basically a subpoena to access patron records, the librarian must comply and may not disclose the order.
A report declassified and released Friday from Inspector General Glenn Fine found that, while FBI investigators did not abuse their powers in the case, the Patriot Act anti-terrorism law "amplified the consequences" of the FBI 's misidentification of a fingerprint by allowing numerous agencies to share flawed information. The report acknowledges that there was an "unusual similarity" between the fingerprints, confusing three FBI examiners and a court-appointed expert. But Fine's office also found that FBI examiners failed to adhere to the bureau's rules for identifying latent fingerprints and that the FBI's "overconfidence" in its skills prevented it from taking the Spanish police seriously.
Search-Engines writes "After a long battle with Congress that went down to the wire, President Bush signed a renewal of the USA Patriot Act today, a day before 16 major provisions of the old law expire.Bush said the Patriot Act is vital to win the war on terror and protect Americans. He recalled the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and said the country is still at war. More"
The approval in the House of Representatives by a vote of 280-138 (just two more than needed under special rules that required a two-thirds majority) sent the bill to President Bush for his signature. The Senate last week voted 89-10 to approve the compromise package, which covers 16 provisions in the act that are set to expire on March 10. Story from CNN and the AP .
The Senate on Today gave its blessing to the renewal of the USA Patriot Act after adding new privacy protections designed to strike a better balance between civil liberties and the government's power to root out terrorists. "Our support for the Patriot Act does not mean a blank check for the president," said Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who voted to pass the bill package. "What we tried to do on a bipartisan basis is have a better bill. It has been improved."