PATRIOT Act refused. A truly patriotic act.

According to the American Street, there’s a library out in Washington that’s standing up to the Patriot Act. Drop them a line and say “thanks,” and if you’re capable, drop them a couple of bucks as well.

2 thoughts on “PATRIOT Act refused. A truly patriotic act.

  1. Here’s a link to the story without the brain-dead cheerleading on American Street,
    And what’s the good news here, exactly? Civil liberties and law enforcement are at times competing interests, but neither is an absolute good. It’s not only wrong legally, but wrong practically, to argue that government in a criminal investigation may NEVER discover who checked out a book in a library, i.e. the library as “haven” theory. Why should a library become a haven for criminal activity because it’s a library?
    On the other hand, more reasonable minds have argued that the issue with the Patriot Act amendments is that the provisions minimize or do away completely with judicial review. This, to my mind, is a plausible objection to some provisions of the Patriot Act amendments. This position asserts that libraries aren’t “havens,” but that government CAN discover who checked out a book upon application to a court with appropriate procedural protection (articulable facts that show the relevancy of the requested information to the investigation, etc.). Judicial review is a cardinal principle of due process in cases where such process is due.

  2. Tony, I’m actually trying not to advocate “havens.” I know that when I make purchases with my credit card, those purchases can be tracked. I have entered into an implicit trade-off between my privacy and convenience. However, I do believe in the power of judicial oversight. I don’t expect this library to win the larger argument they are making about never having to release patron records, but I do hope that they help to get some of the provisions of the PATRIOT Act overturned. Any time there’s any resistance to this law, I think it’s a good thing.

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