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Anti-Patriot Act resolution by Library wins approval

Westford Eagle | Oct 21 2004

Residents at Special Town Meeting voted Monday to support the J.V. Fletcher Board of Library Trustees resolution protesting Sections 215 and 218 of the USA Patriot Act. These sections of the act allow the federal government to seize and inspect borrowing records and Internet research histories of library patrons, as well as borrowing databases associated with a particular publication.

Library Trustees Chairwoman Sandy Kelly said more than 330 other cities, towns and states have passed similar resolutions protesting those sections of the law and the "gag order" on library employees and Internet service providers, prohibiting them from informing a patron of an investigation.

"The original laws of the Constitution were written in a way that allowed the government with the intent of finding people who they really thought were a terrorist threat to get a subpoena with the oversight of the judicial branch," said Kelly. "The way the law is written now, an FBI agent does not have to have any kind of subpoena but just roam into the library and request your personal and private records."

Victor Weisenbloom of Chippewa Road said he did not think the act was intrusive and said he was not aware of any complaints being filed with the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the act.

"The Patriot Act is an effective act to help protect our citizens against terrorism," he said.

Liz Adams said the Justice Department, in a report issued July, was unable to site a single instance in which the two sections of the act were used for prosecuting child pornography, terrorism or any other crime.

Angela Harkness of Castle Road said that the act had been challenged and that a lower court found it unconstitutional.

"I think this is an infringement on three of our basic civil rights: the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, the right to free association and the right to free speech," said Harkness. "If we pass laws, because we are afraid of terrorists, that are interfering with our basic civil rights, then they really have won."


 

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