Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Goring the Wrong Ox

Much ado centered on the USA Patriot Act when people noted that it offered provisions for government to demand records from libraries regarding what materials patrons had checked out. Imagine doing some research on the American civil unrest in 1968 and reviewing "The Anarchist Cookbook" or "The Turner Diaries." How about delving into some gay and lesbian fiction then having your employer learn about your reading interests? Got a government class that requires you to read Lenin, Trotsky and Marx? You might be a target of investigation.

The simple solution for the library district on which I served as member of the Board of Trustees was to review our record-keeping requirements. We determined that we had no reason for maintaining records of materials checked out after they had been returned to the collection. We simply revised our software and took care of the update that cleaned out the data.

In the long run, it never became an issue. I've yet to hear of a library system's data being subpoenaed.

But, what about this tidbit:

Who Is Reading This Blog and Why? Your Government Needs to Know!

When the federal government is demanding IP addresses of folks who access online news sites, it is going to require some very clear and present danger to justify such behavior. While the media in America has absolutely embarrassed themselves with fawning over every passionate exhalation of the Messiah, when you start pulling this sort of thing there is going to be a vigorous backlash.

My sincere recommendation to Attorney General Eric Holder is for him to get a copy of the United States Constitution and read it very carefully. I'd particularly point him toward the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There are no supporting clauses, no exceptions or exclusions, no specific conditions. It simply says, "shall make no law...prohibiting free exercise...or abridging the freedom...of the press."

This sort of thing shall not stand. Even CBS appears to have noticed. When they offend them, they are goring the wrong ox.

1 comment:

immagikman said...

Well is this really any big surprise? They can't understand the clear and concise wording of the 2nd amendment why would the first be any different?