Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What You Read Should Be No One Else's Business

From the folks at Reader Privacy: As early as late today or tomorrow, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is expected to introduce in the U.S. House of Representatives an amendment to the House Commerce, Justice, State (CJS) Appropriations Bill to cut off funds for bookstore and library searches under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. The amendment to the CJS Appropriations Bill, which funds the Justice Department, is co-sponsored by two Republicans--Rep. Butch Otter (ID) and Rep. Ron Paul (TX)--and two Democrats--Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY) and Rep. Tom Udall (NM). "Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act is part of a dangerous erosion of our constitutional rights that, little by little, is making us a less free nation," said Congressman Sanders. "American citizens across the political spectrum have made it very clear that they do not want the government monitoring their reading habits when they walk into a library or bookstore. We can protect our nation from terrorism without letting Uncle Sam read over our collective shoulders." Section 215 amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to vastly expand the power of the FBI to secretly search the bookstore, library, medical, and other personal records of anyone it believes may have information relevant to a foreign intelligence investigation, including people who are not suspected of committing a crime. If you haven't already, be sure to contact your representative and urge her or him to support the bill amendment. If you don't know who your rep is, you can find out here.