FC: Librarians can't tell patrons of USA PATRIOT Act surveillance

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 23:02:38 PST

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    [Thanks to Jeffrey St. Clair for forwarding this. --DBM]
     From Don Wood, Office For Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association:
    Following is additional, clarifying information concerning
    the USA Patriot Act. This information is being provided in
    response to questions coming to the Office for Intellectual
    May librarians notify the person whose records are
    the subject of an FBI search warrant issued in an
    investigation conducted under the new anti-terrorism laws?
    The provision contained in the USA Patriot Act barring
    persons or institutions from disclosing that a search
    warrant has been served does not contain any exceptions that
    permit notification of the person whose records are the
    subject of the search warrant. The Freedom to Read
    Foundation's legal counsel advises OIF that librarians
    should not notify the person whose records are the subject
    of the search warrant. Only one jurisdiction, the District
    of Columbia, requires that a public library notify a patron
    when the library is served with a court order to turn over
    the patron's records. Libraries or librarians who are served
    with a warrant issued under the provisions of the new
    anti-terrorism law may, and are encouraged to, consult with
    and seek the assistance of legal counsel to assure that the
    search warrant is in proper form and shows good cause.
    Libraries and librarians without legal counsel may seek
    legal assistance through the Freedom to Read Foundation by
    calling the Office for Intellectual Freedom and requesting
    legal advice from Jenner & Block. You do not and should not
    inform OIF staff or anyone else of the existence of the
    warrant. Please note, the new law requires a search warrant,
    not a subpoena. A search warrant can be executed
    immediately. A subpoena, on the other hand, allows a party a
    period of time to respond to and contest the court's order.
    An agent or officer serving a search warrant can begin the
    search as soon as the warrant is served. The library or its
    employees are entitled to ask the officer to allow them to
    consult with legal counsel and to ask that the library's
    counsel be present for the search, but there is no
    opportunity or right to quash a search warrant. See also
    Alert: USA PATRIOT Act
    Don Wood Program Officer/Communications American Library
    Association Office for Intellectual Freedom 50 East Huron
    Street Chicago, IL 60611 1-800-545-2433, ext. 1 + 4225 Fax:
    312-280-4227 <dwoodat_private>
    <http://www.ala.org/cipa/cipalegalfund.html> intellectual
    freedom @ your library Free People Read Freely(r)
    "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."-First Amendment
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