USA PATRIOT Act and Libraries. Eric Johnson & Rodney Clare Jackman Sims Memorial Library. USA PATRIOT Act. Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. Brief History.
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USA PATRIOT Act and Libraries Eric Johnson & Rodney Clare Jackman Sims Memorial Library
USA PATRIOT Act • Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001
Brief History • Created in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks • Signed into law on October 26, 2001 • Expands Foreign Intelligence Act (FISA) of 1978
Section 215 ``(a)(1) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.”
Section 215 • Modifies and complicates the rules on records searches • Previously the government needed warrant and probable cause to access private records • Under section 215, FBI has extended powers to conduct essentially warrantless records searches • Accompanying gag order prevents disclosure of the search to anyone
Impact on Libraries • The Act nowhere contains the word “library” • However, several sections which diminish constitutional protections can affect public, academic, and business libraries
American Library Association 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 or transmitted
ALA’s Response to the USA PATRIOT Act • Article III of the Code of Ethics is in direct conflict with the provisions of the Act • Recently adopted resolution 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”
Libraries’ Responses • Placing signs notifying the public about the USA PATRIOT Act • Shredding patron documents that are not essential to the operation of the library • Putting policies and procedures in place and educating the staff
Sims Memorial Library • Types of records maintained: • Circulation and reserve records • Interlibrary Loan request forms • Document delivery records • Reference search requests • Virtual reference logs
Sims Memorial Library • Types of records maintained (cont’d): • Acquisition reports • Cataloging priority requests • Student sign-in sheets and logs • Timekeeping records
Sims Memorial Library • Records kept for varying amounts of time, depending on library’s need • Many electronic records do not link to patron names • In some instances, the Library is not the only entity maintaining the records
Sims Memorial Library’s Response • Creation of an official policy • Development of procedures • Training Library staff • Review of records retention
Draft Policy: Confidentiality of Library Records • The passage of the U.S.A. Patriot Act has raised questions about state and local privacy laws and confidentiality of library records. Sims Memorial Library strongly upholds the confidentiality of patron records and information, which shall not be made available to any agency of local, state, or federal government except by the Library Director or his designee.
Library Draft Policy (Cont’d) • Should any Library employee (faculty, staff, or student) be approached by someone representing himself to be an official of a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency and requesting access to individual or group patron records, manual or electronic, of any kind, that individual should be referred to the Library Director or his designee.
Library Draft Policy (Cont’d) • Such records might include: circulation and reserve records, ILL request forms, document delivery records, reference search requests, acquisitions requests, virtual reference logs, cataloging priority requests, sign-in sheets, timekeeping records, etc.
Library Draft Policy (Cont’d) The Director or designee will consult with the Office of the Provost and/or the University Counsel before releasing any information. If the Director or his designee is not available to deal with that official, the official should be referred to the Office of the Provost or, in his absence, the University Counsel.
Patriot Act II • Department of Justice has drafted the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003” • Sections 128 and 129 will allow the government to obtain private information without approval from any court by creating administrative subpoenas
Helpful Websites • http://www.ALA.org • http://www.llrx.com/features/usapatriotact.htm • http://www.ACLU.org