Is Someone Reading Over Your Shoulder?
Campaign For Reader Privacy
Campaign for Reader Privacy News
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For information contact:
Oren Teicher (ABA), 800-637-0037, ext. 6611
Larry Siems (PEN), 212-334-1660 ext. 105
Judith Platt (AAP), 202-220-4551
Bernadette Murphy (ALA), 202-628-8410 ext. 236

Although S. 1389 (USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act) does not address all of the book community’s concerns, it provides a more stringent standard to which the FBI must adhere when seeking bookstore and library records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Under Section 215, the FBI may demand any records that are “relevant” to a terrorism or espionage investigation, including the records of people who are not suspected of committing a crime. While the House bill maintains this overly broad standard, S. 1389 requires the FBI to provide facts indicating that the person whose records are sought is a terrorist, the agent of a foreign power or someone who is an acquaintance of a person suspected of terrorism or espionage.

The Campaign for Reader Privacy strongly believes that S. 1389 is the logical choice of the conferees because it passed with the unanimous consent of the Senate, while the House was deeply divided over its bill. Indeed, the House had voted 238-187 on June 15 to provide greater protections for reader privacy. However, the conference committee can adopt the House bill if it chooses.

The Campaign for Reader Privacy is also urging its supporters to contact the Senate conferees to urge them to push for S. 1389. They are Arlen Specter (R-PA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Michael DeWine (R-OH), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Carl Levin (D-MI). The House conferees have not been chosen yet.