USA PATRIOT Act Presentation

 

Faculty Senate

 

October 1, 2003

 

 

I.  UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA BY PROVIDING APPROPRIATE TOOLS REQUIRED TO INTERCEPT AND OBSTRUCT TERRORISM Act of 2001

 

II.  BRIEF HISTORY       

 

- Created in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks

 

- Within hours after the attacks, the FBI began serving search

warrants to major Internet Service Providers to get information about suspected electronic communications

 

- Within a week, police and FBI agents received tips that some suspects used libraries in Hollywood Beach and Delray Beach, Florida

 

- President Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law on October 26, 2001

 

-Much of the Act expands the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), in which the standards for courts to approve surveillance of foreign intelligence gathering are far less demanding than those required for approval of a criminal wiretap, which requires a showing of probably cause

 

 

 

 

 

 


III.  SECTION 215

 

- Section 215 of the Act modifies the rules on records searches

 

- Read Section 215

 

- This section has engendered more protest, lawsuits, and congressional amendments than any other

 

 

IV. SECTION 215

 

- Post-PATRIOT ACT, third-party holders of financial, library, travel, video rental, phone, medical, and church records can be searched without the person’s knowledge or consent, providing the government says it’s trying to protect against terrorism

 

- Previously, the government needed at least a warrant and probable cause to access private records

 

- The Fourth Amendment, Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, and case law provided that if the state wished to search you, it needed to show probable cause that a crime had been committed and to obtain a warrant from a neutral judge

 

- Furthermore, under FISA, records could be sought only “for purposes of conducting foreign intelligence” and the target had to be “linked to foreign espionage”

 

- Now the FBI needs only to certify to a FISA judge, with no need for probable cause, that the search protects against terrorism.  The judge has no authority to reject this application

 

 

 

 

 


-What has the ACLU and ALA up in arms is the fact that investigators may now subpoena private records secretly, and these orders cannot be contested in court.  Additionally, you won’t know if Section 215 has been used on you, since the person made to turn over the records is “gagged” and cannot disclose the search to anyone

 

- BOTTOM LINE: Section 215 extends FBI powers to conduct essentially warrantless records searches, especially on people who are not themselves terror suspects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


V.  IMPACT ON LIBRARIES

 

- While libraries are not specifically mentioned in this Act, they certainly fall within the parameters of its provisions

 

 

VI.  ALA LIBRARY CODE OF ETHICS

 

- ARTICLE III:

 

“We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired and transmitted”  (adopted 1995)

 

 

VII.  ALA’S RESPONSE...       

 

- As you can see, this article is in direct conflict with the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act

 

- ALA has been vocal in expressing its concerns over the abridgement of basic American freedoms

 

- A resolution adopted by the ALA Council on January 29, 2003 states that the ALA “opposes any use of governmental power to suppress the free and open exchange of knowledge and information or to intimidate individuals exercising free inquiry”

 

- Additionally, Congress is urged to “amend or change the sections of these laws and the guidelines that threaten or abridge the rights of inquiry and free expression”

 

 

 

 

 

 


VIII.  LIBRARIES’ RESPONSES

 

- Libraries have responded to the USA PATRIOT Act in a variety of ways

 

- Santa Cruz Public Library, under the direction of its “Library Joint Powers Board,”  placed signs that read:

 

WARNING

 

Although the Santa Cruz Public Library makes every

effort to protect your privacy, under the federal USA

PATRIOT Act, records of the books and other materials

you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal

agents.  That federal law prohibits library workers from

informing you if federal agents have obtained records

about you.

 

Questions about policy should be addressed to:

Attorney General John Ashcroft

Department of Justice

Washington D.C. 20530

 

- Other libraries have begun wholesale shredding of documents that are not deemed essential to the operation of the library

 

- Many libraries, including ours, have begun putting policies and procedures in place, and educating the staff so that they know what to do should a federal agent come to the library and demand patron records

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


IX.  SIMS MEMORIAL LIBRARY

 

- Types of records maintained:

 

- Circulation and reserve records

- Interlibrary loan request forms

- Document delivery records

- Reference search requests

- Virtual reference logs

- Acquisitions reports

- Cataloging priority requests

- Student sign-in sheets and logs

- Timekeeping records

 

 

 

X.  SIMS MEMORIAL LIBRARY       

 

- Library records are kept for varying amounts of time

 

-e.g.: we keep interlibrary loan records for three years because of copyright concerns

 

- circulation records let us know how often a book is checked out, and when was the last time

 

- acquisitions reports tell us who requested a particular book or journal

 

- Two and a half years ago, we switched from the NOTIS system to the SIRSI system, so our circulation records do not extend back beyond that

 

- Many of our records do not link to patron names, however

 

-In some instances, other entities hold the same information that we do


- Library is a  member of LOUIS consortium, and duplicate records are kept in the LOUIS office

 

- virtual reference logs are maintained by both our Library and by the company providing the service

 

 

 

XI.  SIMS MEMORIAL LIBRARY’S RESPONSE

 

- Because of the implications of the USA PATRIOT Act:

 

- an official policy was created and is being finalized

 

- step-by-step procedures are being developed

 

- all Library staff will become familiar with these policies

 

-Department Heads have begun a review of records retention, and unnecessary records will be destroyed

 

 

XII.  DRAFT POLICY: CONFIDENTIALITY OF LIBRARY RECORDS

 

READ POLICY (FOUR SLIDES)

 

 

XIII.  PATRIOT ACT II

 

- there’s more to come; the Department of Justice is working on the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, commonly dubbed

“PATRIOT Act II”

 

- leaked to public interest groups earlier this year, the new provisions would extend the surveillance powers of the government even further, by negating the need for court approval to access documents


XIV.  HELPFUL WEBSITES

 

- these are samples of websites to check for more information about the USA PATRIOT Act

 

 

 

XV.  CARTOON

 

- as you know, Attorney General Ashcroft has been on the lecture circuit trying to drum up support for the USA PATRIOT Act, and there has been a great deal of coverage in the press

 

- here’s a humorous take on a very serious topic

 

 

XVI.  QUESTIONS