Thursday, October 31, 2002

I trust all you good people understand how much this sucks for librarians, and for all of you, too. USA Patriot Act: Librarians Keep Quiet. Think we roused too much rabble for Michael Moore? Did we help too many people find answers to questions? Do people still think we shush patrons?

"THE USA PATRIOT ACT allows the FBI broad new powers to check borrower records, Internet use and any other materials that could help track client reading histories (it also applies to booksellers and could be used to obtain medical records). The law contains a gag order threatening librarians with criminal prosecution if they tell anyone of the FBI visits. (Celia notes: this includes your boss, the legal counsel for your library, and your personal lawyer.) The FBI must get a warrant from a judge, but the standard is lower than probable cause. And the evidence, too, is secret."