That old statement: I love my country, but I don't trust my government rather comes to mind.
Just a few select quotes:
[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."
"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."
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.