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A Librarian slams the PATRIOT Act

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41
lbxilkqbue
07-29-2007
06:27 PM ET (US)
Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! tftqpyhbjzngt
40
QrazyQatPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
02:44 PM ET (US)
Remember guys, if we don't give up our rights, the terrorists win, cause they hate our... lack of freedoms?
39
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
02:11 PM ET (US)
Me again,

I just though of this : what good self-respecting terrorist would use is real name on his library registration form?

"On the news today, police are on the lookout for a terrorist named I.P. Freely that blew up a school bus using a library computer. Last know good adress : 666 Al-Quaeda street,
(in the I-eat-babies-for-lunch district), Bagdad, Irak. Hobbies include eating babies and blowing up school buses."

LoveGravy, would you please explain to me how the FBI can catch smart bad-guys (not the bad-guys that you see in american movies) by spying on library users?
38
CG WelchPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
02:04 PM ET (US)
LoveGravy: "Oh, so what the LAW says is OK, but if they use all this additional spyware that NOONE IS EVEN PROPOSING then it's bad? Um....ok... If you think Libraries are keeping keylogs, then you're whacked. In law school I worked in the library and KNOW the kind of antiquated stuff they have, and how technical the staff is."

I am whacked then. I am sorry your law library was in such sorry shape. You should come back to the library. They're much more aware than you realize. As for keystroke software...the whole idea is that you are not told about it.

LoveGravy: you obviously live in a world where power doesn't corrupt. I have seen power corrupt. Then again, so has your "police friend." Does he realize that it is against the law in many areas to run a police check for his personal business?

Public libraries are funded by public money. You want them to follow the Patriot Act. I don't. Why don't we vote on it?

Finally, do you really believe the FBI only wants a list of who used what machne and at what time? That would be a waste of time. It's often a list of people who didn't show their ID and gave any name they liked. In the past week alone I was able to sit down in three separate libraries without even giving any ID.
37
hornsofthedevilPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
01:57 PM ET (US)
Good!
I'm glad librarians are doing this. The Patriot Act is a joke.

9/11 was allowed to happen in part because the CIA and the FBI didn't do their jobs. They ignored clues on a bust in the Phillipines, they ignored a call from the head of the flight school one of the terrorists went to and they refused to search the laptop computer that Zaccarai Moussai had when he was arrested.

So whats the the lesson in the Patriot Act being passed? That a bunch of law enforcment suits with a history of petty competitions between them were to shortsighted to stop terrorists right under our noses and now i have LESS rights because of them?

thats ridiculous. Ashcroft is making excuses for law enforcement in this country with privacy and freedom our expense. Law enforcement has shown they are inflexable unable to be creative in their pursuance of terrorsits and beurocratic.

Why should the citizewn pay for that with privacy? Can't we hold the CIA and FBI(the most well funded law enforcement apparatus in the world) to the standards they set for themselves?

Rights don't need to be taken away in this battle. Law enforcement is inept and needs a reevaluation.
36
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
01:42 PM ET (US)
"That would be the first time in the history of human existance where a society existed that wasn't hated, envied or feared by someone else. [...] unlike you I see the bad guys as the threat, not the US Government."

Jeebus! Power corrupts. Not everyone, but some people. By what great virtue is the US Government protected from corruption? Maybe you don't care if the FBI knows that you read "Great expectations" at 3h00pm on the 15th of march, but what if a company won't hire you because they learn that you read a book on "how to be a good French citizen" two years ago? Its a small possibility, but it could happen. Ah! "But it can save lives! Won't you please think of the children!".

Here is an hypothetical situation : Let's say that the terrorists never hear about the Patriot act. They commonly use library computers to make school buses explode. FBI promptly arrests said terrorists. After 8-10 arrests, they suspect that the FBI is snooping around on the library computers and they stop using these computers to make school buses explode. They instead go to McDonalds. FBI still has to snoop on the library computers just to be safe. It does not save lives anymore but it can still be used by corrupted officials. Net gain : 10 arrests, 250 children avenged but the corruption continues.

Btw, are the librarians breaking any law? Do they have to keep logs of everything? Should they? Do you keep a log of all the keystrokes of your computer? Why should they? I feel I should keep a video log of my computer room 24/7 in case a burglar comes in my house and blows up school buses with my computer :)

<offtopic>
Btw, I'm a french Canadian and I have nothing against the french or the US citizen. I also never read "how to be a good French citizen". :)
</offtopic>
Edited 03-28-2003 01:43 PM
35
Rich GibsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
01:16 PM ET (US)
Civil disobedience by the librarians is not only right, it is mandatory. A librarian who rolls over and gives the feds information has betrayed his or her basic principles.

The federal government under BushInc has become the enemy of liberty.
34
Rich GibsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
01:14 PM ET (US)
Library records are not public records. The argument that they are is the argument of a totalitarian state.
33
QrazyQatPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
01:10 PM ET (US)
So your friend is a great example of why this sort of info-gathering is incredibly dangerous, because people like him (and far more powerful people) will abuse it. Under the Patriot Act, he gets to abuse his power with impunity. The libraries telling people about the Patriot Act via signs at the library etc. are treading on thin legal ice. Thankfully many of them have the guts to do so.
32
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
12:53 PM ET (US)
"Actually, any time I've had my licensed checked..."

That you know of.... :) A friend of mine is a detective (was a state trooper, got promoted) and he used to run background checks and licence checks all the time on people. He'd start dating a girl and check her for priors just in case...

If the sign-up sheets say "This information will be held as a matter of public record and may be turned over to the authorities upon request. If you do not wish to record your identity, then you may not use these computers." then I'd be happy with it.


"I don't believe the idea of destroying the daily records and all of that is the best idea I've ever heard, but the libraries that are making their patrons aware of the PATRIOT act are certainly doing what I'd consider a good job"

I 100% agree. Well put.
Edited 03-28-2003 12:54 PM
31
Dan DickinsonPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
12:41 PM ET (US)
Do the police call you whenever they run a check on your licence (like when requested by an Insurance company)? Does the credit bureau tell you every time someone runs a credit check on you? Are you claiming the librarians would suddenly be FOR this idea if the Feds had to call you and tell you they looked at your records?

Actually, any time I've had my licensed checked (which I had happen about three times when I was shopping around for insurance) or my credit checked (cell phones, various store credit cards), I was told that they were going to check said information while I was in the store, and I had the right to refuse the check if I wanted to.

Granted, it's very similar to getting patted down at the airport - you can refuse it, but if you do, don't expect to get any service. But I don't see this extending to the library situation because essentially everyone already HAS the service.

Look at it this way - when privacy policies change for nearly anything else (banks, eBay, credit cards, what have you), the company (AFAIK) *has* to send you something telling you what's changed and what can happen to your information, and give you the opportunity to decline the changes (thus, often, ending your service). Why should the libraries be any different?

(I don't believe the idea of destroying the daily records and all of that is the best idea I've ever heard, but the libraries that are making their patrons aware of the PATRIOT act are certainly doing what I'd consider a good job.)
30
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
12:19 PM ET (US)
"You can try to heal cancer but cutting it out of the body, or you can find out what the cause of the cancer is, remove it, and not have it happen again."

That would be the first time in the history of human existance where a society existed that wasn't hated, envied or feared by someone else.

Furthermore, it's not an "Either-Or" situation. You must work to solve the root of terrorism WHILE you remain vigilant against it. Either without the other is dangerous.

"Now we can ask one question : why caused them to do such a thing? The fact that they are being silenced. "

Do the police call you whenever they run a check on your licence (like when requested by an Insurance company)? Does the credit bureau tell you every time someone runs a credit check on you? Are you claiming the librarians would suddenly be FOR this idea if the Feds had to call you and tell you they looked at your records?

Computers in libraries are funded with government money. They are offered for free for anyone to use. If you don't like the fact that you aren't 100% anonymous, then don't use it. If enough people are bothered by this, then none of the computers will be used and the government might have to rethink their position. A boycott by the consumers is valid, while civil disobedience by the librarians is not. Furthermore the boycott has a FAR greater chance of changing the law than the librarians actions.

Finally, who do these librarians think they are? They sure aren't speaking for ME, they are doing what they THINK is in the best interest of the public without being held accountable for their actions, UNLIKE the elected public officials.

Ask the public: "Would you be OK with having your name and time logged when using a public computer if it could potentially help law enforcement catch people who use public computers for illegal activities" and let THEM decide.

I like how some of you folks (you being the librarians, not necessarily the blog readers) elect yourselves as the "protectors of freedom" when noone seems to have asked you to do that. The "outcry" over logging usage has been a HUGE minority, yet that minority thinks they are speaking for everyone.

Put it to vote and see what happens. I'd gladly let them know my name and what computer I'm using and when if there's even a SMALL chance that it could help catch someone using that system for illegal purposes, and I know I'm not alone in that either.

Hey, don't get me wrong, thanks for protecting me from our malicious government and all, but unlike you I see the bad guys as the threat, not the US Government.
29
Lord of The CowsPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
11:52 AM ET (US)
cypherpunks[!] wrote :

> Those do not seem like the same rules to me.

Exactly! LoveGravy said way back in at the start of this discussion that libraries would become a safe haven for criminials bacause of what the librarians are doing (erasing records etc). Now we can ask one question : why caused them to do such a thing? The fact that they are being silenced.

What if the authorities (FBI?) would publicly admit that they came and looked at some records at the library? *poof* no more magic safe haven for criminals.. Joe-terrorist would NEVER use a library computer again! It's much easier to gain access to wireless unsecured networks anyway :p

Of course, this would simply push the problem into someone else's backyard ... But libraries would be safe once more! To me, the one question that never gets asked enough is "what made them do that?".

I just wish people would try to answer that question about the terrosist attacks. That doesn't justify terrorist attacks of course, but it could explain why they exist. You can try to heal cancer but cutting it out of the body, or you can find out what the cause of the cancer is, remove it, and not have it happen again.

Utopia is better then witch hunts :)
(sorry for the engrish)
Edited 03-28-2003 11:59 AM
28
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
11:32 AM ET (US)
And now that we have "Free 802.11b Internet Access" in McDonalds, this point may be moot anyway. I can buy a happy meal and hack the pentagon. I don't know what level of logging they are doing there, but it's McDonalds for goodness sakes, and I doubt they have much in the way of network admins at their restauraunts.
27
LoveGravyPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
11:27 AM ET (US)
"Oh, that's not abused. Not that at all. But combined with the keystroke capture and image redirect I now know your email address and password. I also know an organization you to which you belong. I also know a very bad man is a member of that organization. And since you belong to that organization you can't be trusted any longer."

Oh, so what the LAW says is OK, but if they use all this additional spyware that NOONE IS EVEN PROPOSING then it's bad? Um....ok... If you think Libraries are keeping keylogs, then you're whacked. In law school I worked in the library and KNOW the kind of antiquated stuff they have, and how technical the staff is. What you are saying is like "Pulling someone over for speeding and beating the crap out of them with a flashlight is bad" when all I was talking about is handing out speeding tickets.

Furthermore, Libraries are NOT a right! We pay for them and the Government provides them to the public. If they decide to capture info on you and let you know they are doing it (which, obviously, they are since you have to SIGN UP to use them) then so be it. Don't like it? Don't use it! Buy a computer for your home and use it there.

Why should these "free" public systems be completely unrestricted? Is it a RIGHT for people to have public Internet Access? Is it a RIGHT for them to have greater anonymity while using this free public internet access than those of us who pay for it have? Sure the Feds can get the usage logs from the library without a warrant, so what? It's a government facility afterall. They can run a violation check on your drivers licence too any time they want because the Police are a government service too.

Noone is forcing you to use library computers. It's a free service, and in return you have to leave your name. Big deal.

"Guns and anonymity are two separate issues - anonymity is not an offensive weapon in any way"

No? So if I send you a death threat anonymously then you don't see that as a bad thing? When I use a library computer to hack a commercial site to steal creditcards, isn't that a bad thing? If you don't think anonymous computer access isn't an offencive weapon then give me your IP address and I'll prove you wrong.

Ok, so you don't like the gun analogy. Sure, Republicans say "if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" but when you say "if you outlaw anonymous access, then only outlaws will have anonymous access" it's totally different. Ok, I'll go along with that.

Then answer me this, which is my fundamental argument here:

Why should Library computers be exempt from the same level of logging that every ISP and corporation in the nation conducts?

When you lease an IP address when you dial into AOL, they know who you are and how long you've had that IP address on what day. When you login from a library, we'd have NOTHING if not for the sign-up sheets. AOL wants to know who had what IP when so that if you do something illegal that they can find you and terminate your account. Why is it OK when AOL does this, but bad when the government does this? AOL doesn't need a court order to see who had the IP address, why should the government?
26
Alison GreenwaldPerson was signed in when posted
03-28-2003
10:20 AM ET (US)
Guns and anonymity are two separate issues - anonymity is not an offensive weapon in any way. One cannot kill by hiding his identity. One can make poltical statements, share secrets with a friend, blow the whistle on their employer, and yes, conspire to commit a crime. However, the conspiracy does not commit the crime - the actual people do, with actual weapons, with actual actions.

But for the record, I am also opposed to most forms of gun control.
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