Campaign for Reader Privacy Chronology

October 2001

Congress passes the USA PATRIOT Act; Section 215 authorizes searches of "business" records, including bookstore and library records.

April 2002

Groups representing booksellers, librarians and writers join free expression groups in protesting growing threat to free speech, including Section 215.

August 2002

Booksellers and librarians join ACLU in filing Freedom of Information Act request for information about bookstore and library searches under Section 215; however, judge rules that this information is exempt from disclosure.

November 2002

Vermont booksellers and librarians write members of the state Congressional delegation urging them to amend Section 215.

March 2003

Vermont Representative Bernie Sanders introduces the Freedom to Read Protection Act, restoring safeguards for privacy eliminated by Section 215.

May 2003

Book and library associations and companies release statement supporting Freedom to Read Protection Act.

July 2003

Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduce first Senate bills amending Section 215.

October 2003

Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduce the Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act, which amends sections of the PATRIOT Act that concern civil libertarians, including 215.

November 2003

ACLU files lawsuit in Detroit challenging constitutionality of Section 215.

February 2004

Campaign for Reader Privacy launches petition campaign urging Congress to act; petitions are circulated in bookstores, libraries and on new Web site.

July 2004

A majority of members of the House of Representatives vote for measure cutting off funds for bookstore and library searches under the PATRIOT Act; however, House leadership holds vote open until it is able to force enough members to change their vote to kill the measure.

September 2004

Campaign for Reader Privacy presents over 200,000 signatures to Congress at Capitol Hill press conference.

January 2005

In State of Union Message, President Bush calls for re-authorizing sections of the PATRIOT Act that are due to expire on December 31.

April 2005

Campaign for Reader Privacy relaunches petition campaign using a new theme, "Who Is Reading Over Your Shoulder?"