Expanded FBI Powers Threaten Library Privacy. (News Fronts: Washington)

American Libraries, August 2002 | Go to article overview

Expanded FBI Powers Threaten Library Privacy. (News Fronts: Washington)


U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has given the FBI expanded authority for its agents to monitor Internet chat rooms, Web sites, and commercial databases in search of clues to suspected terrorist activities and to initiate inquiries at libraries and other public places without a warrant or even the need to show that a crime was committed.

The new guidelines, announced May 30, allow the FBI to send undercover agents to any event "open to the public"--including political gatherings and places of worship--to look for signs of terrorist or criminal activity. The agency will also be able to collect information on consumers through magazine subscriptions, book purchases, charitable contributions, and travel itineraries.

The expanded powers clash dramatically with the obligation of public libraries to maintain the privacy of their records, an issue that caused consternation when the FBI confiscated library computer records following the terrorist attacks (AL, Nov. 2000, p. 13). The new authority expands the spying power of the agency permitted by the USA Patriot Act, passed hurriedly by Congress in the wake of the September 11 attacks and signed into law by President Bush last October (AL, Dec. 2001, p. 12--13)--legislation that many civil liberties groups found already too broad.

"There could be agents in the library looking at what people are reading, looking over someone's shoulder while they're on the Internet," said American Library Association Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff. "What I'm afraid of as an American citizen is that they're going to look at the kinds of magazines I subscribe to ... and use that as probable cause" to investigate further.

The House Judiciary Committee wrote to Ashcroft June 13 asking whether the FBI has used the USA Patriot Act "to obtain records from a public library, bookstore, or newspaper." Reps. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), the committee chair, and John Conyers (D-Mich. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Expanded FBI Powers Threaten Library Privacy. (News Fronts: Washington)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.