Friday, March 14, 2003


I have avoided speaking about politics because that was a limit I placed on myself when I began this 'blog. The time has come to bend if not break that self-imposed restriction. As catalogers, we try to provide access to materials. Our discussions about main entry, ISBD punctuation and other minutia are based on Cutter's reasons for a catalog, to help a user find .... Currently, there is a feeling, by some, that security must be purchased by sacrificing our 1st amendment rights. There are secret courts approving searches, gag orders, and the FBI in the library. Last week the most common search of Catalogablog was "FBI", so it seems there is concern in our profession about this problem. These blocks to access fly in the face of our most basic principles.

The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse is a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, and University of Maine law school clinics. [Seen on Teleread.]

Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. We are excited about the new opportunities the Internet offers individuals to express their views, parody politicians, celebrate their favorite movie stars, or criticize businesses. But we've noticed that not everyone feels the same way. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to silence other online users. Chilling Effects encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to "chill" legitimate activity.
Register you disapproval of the new Patriot Act at the ACLU.
The new act would radically diminish personal privacy by removing checks on government power. It would permit, without any connection to anti-terrorism efforts, sensitive personal information about U.S. citizens to be shared with local and state law enforcement. In addition, the government could gain secret access to credit reports without consent and without judicial process.
Now, I'll try to get back to cataloging.

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