Posts Tagged ‘John Doe Librarians’

Last year the Internet Archive, a California based digital library, received a National Security Letter (NSL) from the FBI requesting access to personal information (name, address and electronic communication records) related to a specific user.   

Contained within the letter was a gag order, a Statute of the 2001 Patriot Act, which prevented the Internet Archive’s Digital Librarian from discussing the request with co-workers, the library’s Board of Director, or the ACLU.   The librarian in question, however, filed a lawsuit with the support of the Internet Archive, ACLU and EFF to challenge the NSL as unconstitutional and an abuse of power by the FBI. 

Fortunately the Internet Archive won their case and the FBI withdrew their original request.  But what’s happed in other cases?  It’s been suggested that over a five year period (2001 – 2006) the FBI has issued almost 200,000 similar letters and with the exception of a few high profile cases, including the John Doe Librarians of Connecticut, there have been very few challenges, despite the fact that:

“…every time a national security letter recipient has challenged an NSL in court and forced the government to justify it, the government has ultimately withdrawn its demand for records”
(Melissa Goodman, Attorney, ACLU). 

Once again librarians are on the front line fighting to protect
our human rights; librarians truly are heroes every day!

Thanks to David for forwarding on this story.


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A bar of chocolate or a trip to Paris, apparently.  That’s what the results of a recent ‘social engineering’ survey carried out by Infosecurity Europe revealed.  

Although the number of people willing to share their e-mail passwords, date of birth and contact details with complete strangers (on the street!) was down on last year, it was still staggeringly high.   Revealing once again that people lack awareness on issues related to personal security. 

Seems a shame that we can be bought for so little.  Especially since groups like the ‘John Doe Librarians’ campaign on a daily basis to protect our personal privacy.  Hopefully Information Security Awareness Week will help to educate the public about the value of their personal data!

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