Skip to main content

Library cards: Does Big Brother know what you're reading?

by Alan Bisbort August 21, 2008

It sounds like the plot to a new Monty Python Broadway musical, "SPY-A LOT":
You are a librarian in a quiet town. One day a government spy—played by Eric Idle sporting a greasy moustache and doing his nod-nod-wink-wink routine—hands you a "secret letter" demanding your borrowers' records and computer files. You are not to discuss this with anyone, and you are not allowed to contest the demand in court. Just to be on the safe side, don't even make eye contact with the spy. Simply back away from the checkout counter and tiptoe, preferably cowering, toward the stacks. The spy will let you know when he's done. And when he's gone, you are to pretend none of this ever happened. Nod nod wink wink.

Essentially, this is what the Patriot Act allows the FBI to do now. They can issue "National Security Letters" (NSL) and, without court order, search any library file in America for any reason they deem appropriate. Since this is done in secret, with librarians facing prison time—after they're inevitably convicted in secret court—if they peep, we never know if the searches are for "national security" and not simply "dirty tricks." Given the performance of our government in the past eight years in regards to civil liberties and "dirty tricks," do we really want to give such powers away without a peep?

read on

This article by Alan Bisbort documents some of the fall out from the Patriot Act, south of the border. Tom and Andrea want to assure our patrons that we will not co-operate with any spying in the Centre of Criminology Library. Tom


Anonymous said…
Nice blog

Popular posts from this blog

Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security
"3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​
A new RAND paper, Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat, explores how 3D printers will affect personal, national, and international security. The paper is part of RAND's Security 2040 initiative, which looks over the horizon to anticipate future threats.
The same technology that might one day custom-print heart valves can just as easily produce gun parts. The same machines that allow astronauts on the international space station to print their own tools might also help a state like North Korea print military or industrial equipment to get around international sanctions...."

They May Cause Harm

by digby

Here's a great article on the use of tasers and what's becoming an important part of the debate --- the fact that they are killing people with them:

On a balmy fall night, two police officers in a squad car in east Bradenton spotted a man on a bicycle without a headlight.

Derrick Humbert, 38, rode a bike around town because seizures from a head injury prevented him from driving. He worked odd jobs as a short-order cook and gardener. He took care of his three kids, 2, 8 and 11, while their mother worked the evening shift at a 7-Eleven.

On this Monday in late September, he was riding home from a convenience store just after midnight when police told him to stop.

Instead, he pedaled around a corner past three houses, jumped off the bike and ran into a yard, the two officers chasing him on foot.

Read on...

The Way of The Gun

Iconic characters from crime fiction's most popular writers reflect on their tools of the trade.

JOE PIKE, BusinessmanGUN: KIMBER CUSTOM II MODEL 1911 .45 ACP“The best semiautomatic combat pistol made. The lowered ejector port, full-length guide rail, beveled magazine well and superb tolerances give outstanding out-of-the-box accuracy and reliability. The big .45 ACP bullet is heavy and slow, but that’s what you want. A lighter, faster bullet will punch through a man, carrying its energy with it. A .45 hollowpoint flattens and dumps its energy into the target like a truck T-boning a Prius. You don’t need to double-tap with the .45. One shot will knock a big man off his feet. LAPD SWAT uses the Kimber. USMC Special Operations Command (Force Recon) uses it. I use it. That’s all you need to know.”WRITER: ROBERT CRAISRead on...