Is Someone Reading Over Your Shoulder?
Campaign For Reader Privacy
Why does PEN care about Reader Privacy?

The Campaign for Reader Privacy is at the center of a major effort by many of America's leading writers to address free speech and human rights concerns connected with the USA PATRIOT Act and the full range of antiterrorism laws and executive orders enacted since September 11, 2001.

PEN American Center is an organization of professional writers dedicated to defending freedom of expression in the United States and around the world. For more than 80 years, PEN has worked on behalf of writers and others who have been imprisoned or persecuted for what they have said, what they have written, or what they have read. We have seen again and again how societies are weakened when the freedom of individuals to seek information and debate ideas has been limited. And we know from our own experiences as American writers how the freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment have fueled creativity and prevented or corrected countless governmental mistakes or errors.

The freedom to write begins with the freedom to read. Many of us owe our careers as writers to local public libraries and bookstores, and to individual librarians, teachers, and booksellers who encouraged us to ask questions and offered us both the materials and the space to pursue our own answers. In many countries of the world, gifts like these are almost inconceivable luxuries. It is no coincidence that these same countries are places where writing is often a dangerous, even deadly profession.

Much of PEN's work focuses on extending the freedoms to read and to write to men, women, and children in countries where these freedoms are not yet a birthright. As the same time, we are dedicated to protecting the essential rights we have inherited-rights that continue to serve as a model and an inspiration to people working to build free and open societies around the world.

To read more about PEN's concerns, learn more about PEN's work to address these concerns, and join the effort to ensure a full, non-partisan review of post-9/11 security legislation and measures, please visit: