- Ben Franklin
Unfortunately, the Patriot Act is not a thing of the past. It is arguably unconstitutional and riddled with controversial provisions. Despite campaign promises, President Obama extended the Patriot Act in May of this year without any new civil liberties provisions or amendments. The seemingly valid attitude of "well, if I'm not doing anything illegal than why should I care" is a little naive. The fact is, once the government gets on 'in' on your personal information, and what your are choosing to read, whose to say this will cease in the future? Do people honestly think that one day terrorism will just end and we'll all get our rights to privately and freely access information unless the people speak out against it? And while authorities could technically get a warrant if they suspect suspicious activity, sometimes it's just easier to cite the Patriot Act. And by doing so, authorities can snoop around in someone's library or bookstore records while librarians keep mum and the patron is unaware. It is incredibly naive to think that the Patriot Act is incapable of being abused. It is. It allows the government to spy on its citizens . . . legally.
More Information and Petitions:
1. Campaign for Reader Privacy (Sign the Petition!)
2. Electronic Privacy Information Center: USA Patriot Act
3. ALA: The USA Patriot Act
4. ALA: The USA Patriot Act - Further Reading