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Protecting your right to read!


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#1 Kimmer

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 09:42 PM

http://abcnews.go.co...read030424.html

That old statement: I love my country, but I don't trust my government rather comes to mind.


Just a few select quotes:

Quote

April 24 A visit to the library hardly seems like an act that would get you in trouble, but some librarians are warning patrons that they could be putting themselves at risk by what they read. 

[snippage of good stuff]

The threat, according to booksellers and librarians, comes from the federal government and a provision of the USA Patriot Act in Section 215 that authorizes the FBI to obtain "certain business records" based on warrants from secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts, which under changes instituted by USA Patriot do not require that the government show probable cause.

The law, passed by Congress less than two months after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, also makes it illegal for a business including libraries or bookstores whose client records are demanded to tell anyone about it, even the person whose purchase or borrowing records are demanded.

Judith Krug of the American Library Association said the law not only threatens First Amendment rights, it undermines the ability of Americans to be responsible citizens by creating a sense of fear about seeking information the administration might not want them to have.

"It is in my mind the most important right we enjoy in the Constitution, because without the access to information we are incapable of governing ourselves," Krug said. "Without free access to information we do not have what we need to govern ourselves. Any attempt to withhold information and ideas from the American public strikes right at the heart of this Constitutional republic."


Quote

Though some booksellers have said they do not believe that the Justice Department sought the power to peruse Americans' reading records when USA Patriot was being drafted, Weaver said he was not so sure.

"It's difficult now to judge motivations, but the Justice Department has been quite hostile to attempts to change the law," he said. "Now that they have the powers, they don't seem to want to give them back."

Quote

In a recently resolved case in Denver, the Tattered Cover Book Store fought a subpoena ordering it to turn over a customer's records in the case of a suspected drug dealer.

Police sought the records in March of 2000 because they found a mailing envelope from the bookstore to the suspect and two books on making methamphetamines outside an illegal meth lab. They hoped the store's records would prove the suspect bought the books.

The store's owner took the fight all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled 9-0 last year that the Constitution protects an individual's right to be anonymous in book purchases.

Under the Patriot Act provisions, though, a person being investigated would not have a chance to challenge the examination of reading records, because the person would not know it was happening.


#2 Lady of Mystery

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 10:41 PM

Thanks for the information Kimmer.

You know?  This is really strange considering that  HIPAA regulations require all information as far as any sort of records on an individual's health status must be provided to the patient prior with regards to treatment, diagnosis, patient status and so forth.  All information that is used, whether from provider to referring provider to lab facilities, to hospitals to insurance carriers and so forth must first be approved by the patient.  And any information that is sent via internet for the purpose of billing, test results or consultation.

One of the reasons these regulations and guidelines were made was to protect AIDS patients as well as those who have communicable diseases, protecting the privacy of the individuals affected, while at the same time enabling health facilities and providers as well as insurance carriers to be able to discuss and evaluate as far as treatment or notification to the public of health risks in general.

Would you say this is a case of a double standard by the Federal Government?

Lady

#3 Cardie

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 11:06 PM

The Patriot Act is one scary document. Just the name of it tells you that it aims to intimidate dissent and lessen access to information the government doesn't want you to have.

John Ashcroft makes Donald Rumsfeld look like Karl Marx.

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#4 Kimmer

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Posted 26 April 2003 - 11:21 PM

Lady, yes a double standard.

Cardie, I agree on this being a scary document.

In fact, it wouldn't surprise to eventually learn that it has been used to access our health records behind our backs.

This kind of stuff is none of the governments business.

Maybe it's time to chuck the ATM card and go to cash only - no name, no discount, I was never here, you never saw me.  :eek:

#5 Norville

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 12:48 AM

As someone who's been library staff, and supports the freedom of people to read what they will, I celebrate any library that chooses to stand up to (the threat of) government spying. I've heard that some systems have taken to shredding their paperwork for that reason.

Not everyone who chooses to read something controversial will be a terrorist. In my arrogant opinion, people can butt out and not even think about tracking what I read. Gee, go ahead, investigate my library record... you'll notice a science fiction geek who reads a lot of naval history, Middle East history (look, a terrorist!), pretty much whatever I please at the time.

Quote

Maybe it's time to chuck the ATM card and go to cash only - no name, no discount, I was never here, you never saw me.

I took to using my ATM card quite a lot in book-buying, in place of checks. Time to cut down on doing that. Problem is, I don't like carrying cash with me, except for enough for bus fare. Sigh.
"The dew has fallen with a particularly sickening thud this morning."
- Marvin the Paranoid Android, "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"

Rules for Surviving an Autocracy
Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
http://www.nybooks.c...s-for-survival/

#6 Tyrs Girl

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 12:50 AM

:blink: This is just ridiculous!

#7 Kimmer

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 01:09 AM

Norville, on Apr 26 2003, 03:38 PM, said:

Not everyone who chooses to read something controversial will be a terrorist. In my arrogant opinion, people can butt out and not even think about tracking what I read. Gee, go ahead, investigate my library record... you'll notice a science fiction geek who reads a lot of naval history, Middle East history (look, a terrorist!), pretty much whatever I please at the time.
You just made me think - my husband has really gotten in to reading books on WWI and II, plus books on codes and code breakers. I don't even want to think about what the govt would do with that kind of info!  :eek:

Me, I read mainly mysteries and spy novels. OOPS! I'm probably a spy who murders.  :rolleyes:

BTW, I don't think your opinion is arrogant. After all, it's YOUR opinion and you are entitled to have an opinion and to share same opinion. (Can you tell I've spent a week dealing with some friends who are upset that my opinion is different from theirs?) :lol:

I feel the same as you about carrying cash.  :crazy:

#8 Rov Judicata

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 01:11 AM

kimmer, on Apr 26 2003, 03:59 PM, said:

Me, I read mainly mysteries and spy novels. OOPS! I'm probably a spy who murders. 
I knew it!

;).

Seriously though, I think the ACLU is right on this one :)
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
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~~ Josh, winning the argument.

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#9 Delvo

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 01:28 AM

Just one example of the abundant anti-Constitutional, freedom-dissolving aspects of the "Patriot Act". It's basicly all the ingredients you need to create a totalitarian regime piece by piece. We won't let anyone in some other country destroy this one; we'll do it ourselves from the inside! But then, what do you expect from the people who gave us a enabling themselves to determine when we are and aren't allowed to use our own money on political ads against government officials too close to an election (now tell me THAT doesn't sound Soviet!), despite the use of money for ads having already been determined to be an act of free political speech, in the name of "campaign finance reform", which concept was only floated in the first place to protect the previous dictator-wannabe President from his (and his people's) routine violations of already-established campaign finance laws?!

One thing that bugs me about the current President and his administration is the fact that, much as I hate some of the things they've done and even believe that their (mostly pre-war) actions will be the ultimate downfall of my country, I keep on ending up in the position of defending them because the USUAL attacks levelled against them are so far from the real problems and so inane... but this stuff here is the real meat of what's wrong with this crowd.

#10 Kimmer

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 02:48 AM

Javert Rovinski, on Apr 26 2003, 04:01 PM, said:

I knew it!

;).
You knew what?  I am not here, never have been, never will be. kimmer sneaks behind the palm trees and prepares to use her spy glasses and make notes on all the nefarious activity at The Beach

Delvo, I'm not nuts about this legislation - but shoot both parties have been trying for this stuff for years and years. It's nothing new. And mark my words - both parties will abuse it.

Like I said, I love my country, I don't trust my government.

Edited by kimmer, 27 April 2003 - 02:49 AM.


#11 Kosh

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 03:10 AM

Quote

Just one example of the abundant anti-Constitutional, freedom-dissolving aspects of the "Patriot Act"


We should all press out representitives to review and amend or annual the act. Bob Byrd fought against it, I think the number of no votes was only Nine. but I may be mixing it up with another vote. There was a lot going on at the time, some things got rushed through.
Can't Touch This!!

#12 Ilisidi

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 03:20 AM

This *Patriot Act* looks like the slippery slope back to the good olden days of the Red Scare.  Its scary.  I haven't yet ceased to be amazed by the rights being given up (or taken) since this administration has been in power.
found this tidbit in the note section!  

Words of Zack RE Tyr: This is just one ex-writer speaking completely non-canonically, but in my mind the most fascinating thing about Tyr was that despite his breeding and socialization to be treacherous, opportunistic, and selfish, it was pretty clear that underneath it all, another aspect of Tyr's personality was to be gentle, loyal, and altruistic. We saw this most clearly in "Distant Drum," where with his memory gone Tyr's default mode was to protect the weak and risk his life for kludges, but it also surfaced in "Its Hour" with Tyr's obvious pride in and protectiveness toward Harper, and then in "All Too Human" (the title says it all), where Tyr is confused and enraged by his own compassion toward Harper. In my own mind at least, Tyr's growth as a character was ultimately to try and merge what was best about the Nietzscheans (energy, intelligence, never say die attitude) with what was best about humanity (empathy, altruism, connectedness with others.)As always, YMMV.

How I remember those days....

#13 Norville

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 04:24 AM

Quote

I don't think your opinion is arrogant. After all, it's YOUR opinion and you are entitled to have an opinion and to share same opinion.

I've taken to explaining it's "in my opinion" or "in my arrogant opinion" or whatever, because if I don't explain that, someone will assume that I'm talking as if it should be everyone's opinion. It's mine. You can share it if you wish, but I'm not demanding that. :wideeyed:

Quote

It's basicly all the ingredients you need to create a totalitarian regime piece by piece. We won't let anyone in some other country destroy this one; we'll do it ourselves from the inside!

Yes. The phrase "then the terrorists will have won" (if they make us change our lives) comes to mind. I have perhaps an overly idealistic vision of what the United States is supposed to be, but the Patriot Act or any sort of totalitarianism have no place in it.

Quote

Like I said, I love my country, I don't trust my government.

I don't trust it, either -- it or the politicians who must make up said government. Before I'm accused of being a leftist for disliking the current regime, I can't remember much liking *any* sitting president in my lifetime, and that *includes* Clinton. ;) I just find that this one scares me excessively. Reagan scared me, too, especially with his crack that we'd "outlawed the Evil Empire" (Soviet Union) and "We begin bombing in 5 minutes." :crazy:

I wish I didn't have to take an interest in politics. Politics mostly drives me right up the wall, ranting. I hate easy labels like "liberal" or "leftist", because life tends to be more complex than that. I know I don't fit those easy labels. My lifestyle tends to be very conservative, but some of my ideas get me name-called liberal. Boring... tiresome... and I don't want to start calling name-callers "neo-conservative chickenhawks" in return...

Quote

This *Patriot Act* looks like the slippery slope back to the good olden days of the Red Scare.

I think it's going to be worse than that. My parents are convinced it already is worse than that. They could be right.
"The dew has fallen with a particularly sickening thud this morning."
- Marvin the Paranoid Android, "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy"

Rules for Surviving an Autocracy
Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.
- Masha Gessen
http://www.nybooks.c...s-for-survival/

#14 Shalamar

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 05:07 AM

All I am going to say is that the potential of this is utterly appalling, and scares the heck out a me...and makes me glad that quite a few of the books I have were bought, paid in cash, small used bills thank you, many many years ago....or were given to me.

Agreed to the "Love my country, don't trust/fear my government"

Edited by Shalamar, 27 April 2003 - 07:11 AM.

The three most important R's
Respect for One's Self / Respect for Others / Responsibility for One's Words & Actions.

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#15 Banapis

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 05:26 AM

Kosh, on Apr 27 2003, 01:00 AM, said:

Quote

Just one example of the abundant anti-Constitutional, freedom-dissolving aspects of the "Patriot Act"


We should all press out representitives to review and amend or annual the act. Bob Byrd fought against it, I think the number of no votes was only Nine. but I may be mixing it up with another vote. There was a lot going on at the time, some things got rushed through.
The House of Representatives passed it 357-66.

Votes For:
211 Republicans
145 Democrats
1 Independent

Votes Against:
62 Democrats
3 Republicans
1 Independent (Bernie Sanders, VT)

9 Abstaining:
5 Republicans
4 Democrats

The Senate then approved it 98-1.

Vote Against:
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)

Another interesting aspect of the "USA Patriot Act" is that it represents a total failure of the Congress as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.  As they saw it, the House of Reps, being more closely connected to the people via their 2 yr term limit, would be more likely swayed by the passions of the moment into passing ill-advised legislation.  That seems to be the case here, as the 220 page bill, containing 300 some sections, was passed a mere 6 weeks after the terrorists struck.

However, it was anticipated by the Founding Fathers the Senate would take a more "statesmanlike" long-term approach by virtue of their distance from the electorate because of their 6 year terms (and, as originally envisioned, Senators would not be directly elected by the people, but appointed by their State Legislatures).  Yet in this instance, the Senate approves it 98-1 with hardly any debate on the hastily thrown together bill at all... and no amendments

Banapis

#16 Kosh

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 05:50 AM

CRAP NEBULA!!!

I just bought two Ayn Rand books.











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#17 Uncle Sid

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 06:36 AM

Okay....

While the Patriot Act, like many acts generated in response to an emergency, has some provisions that can cause problems, I really think that getting the impression that you are somehow in danger of government action is silly.  No court or jury would convict you simply based on the evidence of what you read: there would have to be much more than that.  

It seems like people are getting the idea that the government is going to just randomly force libraries to give up their records and compile a huge database and then watch your every move.  That's patently ridiculous.  Despite the fact that a supercomputer could do the work...maybe...you still need to devote resources to tracking and following up on leads generated in this way.  There are much better indicators of possible involvement in terrorist activities than your reading habits.  Spending time and money on a library book dragnet is a waste of time.  Most stuff that you consider to be strange or exotic reading is a lot less so than you might think.  There's probably a few dozen people a day who check out Mein Kampf at the local or school libraries, and certainly more than that would would be checking out copies of the Qu'ran.  Even bomb making information or research on WMDs is fairly common, if only because it's newsworthy and people are curious.

That being said, if you do fit into a certain profile, the law does make it easier for the government to then solidify a case by checking your reading habits.     Granted, no one wants a fishing expedition into their lives, but the simple fact of the matter is that unless you're doing something interesting, the government could care less about you.  Every day, credit card companies and other groups compile more information about you than the government would dream of, then then they sell it where they can.  

Just to be clear here, I'm not saying that I agree with this provision.  In the wrong hands, it could be used for nefarious purposes.  However, as much as people want to believe in conspiracies, we don't have a nefarious government.  It is a bumbling one that steps on people at times, but there's clearly no intent to try and settle totalitarian rule on anyone.  John Ashcroft, who many dislike due to his political beliefs, is no more than someone who's a conservative who wants the authority to get his job done more easlily.  In that way, he's no different than most people who complain that they are hamstrung from being able to do their jobs.  In addition, with taxpayers afraid of terrorists lighting a fire under it's rear, law enforcement is feeling pressure from all corners to improve its detection capabilities.  

Setting yourself to instinctively mistrust the government is a poor idea, because it makes its job that much harder, and consequently, causes it to increase it's efforts to gain powers to make up for the shortfall in citizen cooperation.  While being in love with the government is a rather facsist image, making an effor to try and understand and work with it is the best way to see that you are both protected by the government and from the worst extremes of government.  In this case, defining an arrangement that tempers the powers of the Patriot Act, while maximizing the effectiveness of the remainder would be my solution.  However, my fear is that there will be an over-reaction one way or the other.  It's very important that this not happen.
I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. - Jack Handey

#18 Kosh

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 07:42 AM

Quote

Setting yourself to instinctively mistrust the government is a poor idea, because it makes its job that much harder, and consequently, causes it to increase it's efforts to gain powers to make up for the shortfall in citizen cooperation. While being in love with the government is a rather facsist image, making an effor to try and understand and work with it is the best way to see that you are both protected by the government and from the worst extremes of government.

From The Bay of Pigs, to the Warren Report, to the Veitnam War, to Water Gate, to the deal to Pardon Nixion, (Carter's presidency was somewhat inept, by honest), to Iran Contra, no real big complaints with 41, Take your pick with Clinton, The American government hasn't had the respect of the citizens for a long time. It's not the method that bothers me, as much as making it all legal, and shoving it through Congress and Senate.
Can't Touch This!!

#19 Banapis

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 08:01 AM

Uncle Sid, on Apr 27 2003, 04:26 AM, said:

While the Patriot Act, like many acts generated in response to an emergency, has some provisions that can cause problems, I really think that getting the impression that you are somehow in danger of government action is silly.
Perhaps not the Patriot Act standing alone, but when you combine it with the Homeland Security Act...

Quote

It seems like people are getting the idea that the government is going to... compile a huge database and then watch your every move. That's patently ridiculous.

It's not ridiculous.  It's "Total Information Awareness" authorized by the Homeland Security Act.

Quote

Despite the fact that a supercomputer could do the work...maybe...you still need to devote resources to tracking and following up on leads generated in this way.

Yes, they intend to use a supercomputer with the appropriate algorithms to analyze the data.  And presumably they would followup on the redflags the computer throws, otherwise why manufacture them?

Here's how the "Information Awareness Office" explains their focus at the moment:

Quote

Technically, the TIA program is focusing on the development of: 1) architectures for a large-scale counter-terrorism database, for system elements associated with database population, and for integrating algorithms and mixed-initiative analytical tools; 2) novel methods for populating the database from existing sources, create innovative new sources, and invent new algorithms for mining, combining, and refining information for subsequent inclusion into the database; and, 3) revolutionary new models, algorithms, methods, tools, and techniques for analyzing and correlating information in the database to derive actionable intelligence.

http://www.darpa.mil.../TIASystems.htm  (Yes, the office is military.)

So what does this all mean for us?

Here's the abstract of New York Times columnist William Safire's exposition on the potential of the TIA program:

Quote

Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as ''a virtual, centralized grand database.''

http://www.nytimes.c...ion/14SAFI.html


Or how about John Markoff's take on TIA's capabilitiy?

Quote

"...it will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant. Historically, military and intelligence agencies have not been permitted to spy on Americans without extraordinary legal authorization. But Admiral Poindexter, the former national security adviser in the Reagan administration, has argued that the government needs broad new powers to process, store and mine billions of minute details of electronic life in the United States. Admiral Poindexter, who has described the plan in public documents and speeches but declined to be interviewed, has said that the government needs to 'break down the stovepipes' that separate commercial and government databases, allowing teams of intelligence agency analysts to hunt for hidden patterns of activity with powerful computers."

http://www.nytimes.c...ics/09COMP.html

Quote

Every day, credit card companies and other groups compile more information about you than the government would dream of, then then they sell it where they can.

That's precisely what the "Information Awareness Office" is dreaming of as detailed above.  Admiral Poindexter specified the need to break down the barriers between commercial and government databases.

Quote

we don't have a nefarious government. It is a bumbling one that steps on people at times, but there's clearly no intent to try and settle totalitarian rule on anyone.

I have no doubt that this is probably a case of "The Road to Totalitarianism is Paved with Good Intentions."  But regardless of the "good" intentions I cannot agree with this project.  It should be deep-sixed immediately.

Until then, I guess we can all be comforted by the fact the Information Awareness Office has thoughtfully taken down it's warm and cuddly logo.    

However, if you're curious, it has been preserved for posterity HERE.

"Scientia est Potentia"?  

Yes, indeed.  In the Information Age in which we now live, "Knowledge is Power."

Banapis

Edited by Banapis, 27 April 2003 - 08:04 AM.


#20 jon3831

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Posted 27 April 2003 - 08:49 AM

Just to note: The same Poindexter that's in charge of TIO is the John Poindexter that was convicted of lying to Congress, conspiracy, defrauding the government, and destroying evidence in the Iran Contra affair.

Just the man I want looking through my bank records.

Other than that, amen to what Banapis said.
"The issue is not war and peace, rather, how best to   preserve our freedom."
                    --General Russell E. Dougherty, USAF

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