Friday, October 23, 2009

American Privacy Being Reviewed

Congress is now debating changes in Section 215 and other provisions of the Patriot Act that expire in December, which presents an opportunity to remedy the serious threat to reader privacy in the current provision.

On October 8, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 1892, which reauthorizes Section 215 for four years. The bill contains additional protections for the privacy of library records but fails to extend that protection to bookstore records. The introduction of H.R. 3845 means that the House will give serious consideration to protecting reader privacy in both libraries and bookstores.

"Notably, the bill would allow Americans to use libraries and bookstores without fear that their choice of books will be monitored by overzealous federal agents," Congressman Nadler said in apress release Wednesday.

The Campaign for Reader Privacy was organized in 2004 by the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center. Its goal is to ensure that Americans can purchase and borrow books without fear that the government is reading over their shoulders.

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