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

The sponsors of the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) are encouraging booksellers, librarians, and others who are represented by one or more members of the conference committee to immediately call or fax their Washington office to urge support for the Senate bill, S. 1389, which provides far more stringent safeguards to reader privacy than the House version. The Senate legislation restricts bookstore and library searches under Section 215 of the Patriot Act to the records of people who are suspected terrorists or people who are in contact with them.

"All of the hard work of booksellers and others involved in the Campaign for Reader Privacy over the past several years now boils down to these upcoming conference committee meetings," said ABA COO Oren Teicher. "It is imperative that, when the House and Senate versions of the Patriot Act are reconciled, the final bill includes the Senate version of Section 215. We can't let up now. With victory in sight, we must do all we can to ensure that every reader's privacy is protected.

"If you are from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, Kansas, Alabama, Ohio, Arizona, Utah, West Virginia, or Michigan, or one of the congressional districts listed below, this is the time to act. After all is said and done, it all depends on the votes these senators and members of Congress cast in the conference committee."

The House conferees are:
Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Howard Berman (D-CA)
Rick Boucher (D-VA)
Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Howard Coble (R-NC)
John Conyers (D-MI)
John Dingell (D-MI)
Barney Frank (D-MA)
Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
Jane Harman (D-CA)
Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)
William Jenkins (R-TN)
Pete King (R-NY)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Charles Norwood (R-GA)
Michael Oxley (R-OH)
James Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
John Shadegg (R-AZ)
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Heather Wilson (R-NM)
Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

As previously reported, Senate conferees 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)
Carl Levin (D-MI)

Click here for contact information.

The Campaign for Reader Privacy suggests that supporters make the following important points when they urge their Congressional representatives to support the Senate bill:

The Senate Bill Provides Greater Protection for Reader Privacy.
S. 1389, which was approved without opposition, eliminates the danger of fishing expeditions in bookstore and library records by limiting searches to the records of suspected terrorists and people who are in contact with them. It requires the FBI to provide a statement of facts supporting its requests for Section 215 search orders, giving FISA judges greater discretion in deciding whether to grant them. The Justice Department would have to make public every year the number of bookstore and library searches under Section 215. The Senate bill also creates a new sunset for Section 215 that is four years earlier than the sunset in the House bill, making it possible to correct any abuse of Section 215 at an earlier date.

The House Leadership Is Trying to Block Important Safeguards for Reader Privacy.
Although the House voted 238 to 187 to approve a Freedom to Read Amendment in June, House leaders blocked the addition of the amendment to the House reauthorization bill (H.R. 3199) and are attempting to delete important safeguards for bookstore and library privacy from the Senate reauthorization bill.

The House Bill Permits "Fishing Expeditions" in Bookstore and Library Records.
Under H.R. 3199, the FBI can seek an order from the secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for any records that may be "relevant" to a terrorist investigation, including the records of people who are not suspected of any crime and have no connection to a person suspected of terrorism.