Friday, August 26, 2005

Library Sues Over Guv-mint Snooping

A member of the American Library Association in Connecticut -- unnamed for reasons explained below -- is suing the Bush Justice Department to challenge an FBI demand for library documents under provisions of the USA Patriot Act. The suit focuses on the FBI's use of a document called a "national security letter" (NSL), which allows investigators to demand records without the approval of a judge and to prohibit companies or institutions from disclosing the request. Which is why the library (or librarian -- it isn't clear whether the plaintiff is an individual or an institution) in Connecticut cannot talk openly about what's going on. Nice!

The only thing clear from the WashPost story is that the FBI is seeking Internet subscriber information, billing information, and access logs for an unidentified target. There's a court-imposed gag order on the lawsuit.

In the land of the free in 2001, you can't protest the actions of Big Bubba because to protest specific government actions would be the same as possessing information that it's a crime to possess. When grow dizzy. When information is criminalized...

Which is exactly what the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wants to do in its proposed extension of the USA Patriot Act, "which, among other things, would allow those who violate a gag order in connection with an NSL to be sentenced to as long as five years in prison." Just the act of debating provisions of the Patriot Act could get you thrown in jail, Sucka!

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said during Senate testimony in April that the Justice Department "has no interest in rummaging through the library records or medical records of Americans." It's not the first time they've lied. Nor the last.

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