Saturday, December 17, 2005

Checking out "Little Red Book" brings visit by government agents

Update Wanker student lied... It's a hoax... South Coast story. To say again.. liar liar liar. I hate liars.

This is unacceptable.

Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior

How the DHS is searching Inter-Library Loan requests is unknown, probably through one of the big ILL mediators like OCLC's Illiad.

Academic freedom to read and discuss whatever, to expose yourself to all ideas, including foreign ones, is paramount to a democracy. The DHS is inviting fascism by doing this.

Since I am an employee of an academic library, my employment is dependent on the ability of students and faculty trusting that their choices in what they choose to read is relatively private. We offer the ability to patrons to find out who has a particular book out, but only if they agree to the same reciprocal privileges. It's a tradeoff--I could find out who has checked out a copy of Mao Tse-Tung, but someone else looking for a copy of "Uranium" would know I had it borrowed. But with a secret warrant, the government can know what you have read without any notice to anyone. Unacceptable.

I would encourage anyone concerned about this to obviously complain to your elected officials, but also ask about your local library's policies regarding data retention, and encourage them to clean out the data as appropriate. Is your library's policy written and available to you?

Here is the ALA's Library Bill of Rights.

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