The Campaign for Reader Privacy was launched in 2004 to restore the safeguards for reader privacy that were eliminated by the USA Patriot Act. Its members—the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers and PEN American Center-sponsored a national petition campaign and mobilized the book and library community in support of corrective legislation introduced by Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Larry Craig (R-ID). In 2005, both the House and Senate indicated their support for adding safeguards for bookstore and library records.
Some of these protections were incorporated in the bill re-authorizing the Patriot Act that was approved by Congress in early 2006, including the right to consult an attorney about a Patriot Act order, a limited right to challenge the order in court, and an annual public accounting of the total number of bookstore and library searches under the Patriot Act. However, the bill lacked a key safeguard that would restrict searches to the records of people who are suspected of terrorism. As a result, government may continue to search the records of anyone it considers "relevant" to a terrorism investigation, including people who are not suspected of criminal conduct. The fight for reader privacy continues.
[Click here to join the Campaign for Reader Privacy]
Find out more about the push for Congress to pass the NSL Reform Act.
The Campaign for Reader Privacy is a joint initiative of the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center.