I am pasting below an e-mail I just received about the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as a call to action below.
Dear Reader Privacy supporters,
As you probably already know, House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement on the USA PATRIOT Act's extension yesterday, Thursday, December 8. The agreement would extend for four years Section 215, which permits secret warrants for books, records, and other items from businesses, hospitals, and organizations such as libraries. No changes were made to the standards for obtaining these orders, nor for those for obtaining National Security Letters (NSLs). Section 505 of the PATRIOT Act, authorizing NSLs, still has no sunset.
While we do appreciate that the conference report now sunsets Section 215 in four years instead of seven, this change is not sufficient to protect the privacy of library users from fishing expeditions by the FBI.
Six senators (three Republicans, three Democrats) are committed to filibustering the House conference report when it comes to the Senate; they are requesting a three-month extension of the current provision to allow time for Congress to make further improvements to the bill. Senators Durbin, Feingold, Craig, Sununu, and Salazar said today: "We still can-and must-make sure that our laws give law enforcement agents the tools they need while providing safeguards to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans."
The Campaign agrees and now asks for your assistance. Please let your Senators and Representatives know that you strongly support efforts to delay a vote on the PATRIOT Act bill until Congress restores full protections for bookstore and library records.
Please call or fax your Senators today and urge them to vote as
(1) NO on a motion for cloture (ending debate for an immediate vote);
(2) NO on the conference report; and
(3) YES on a motion for a continuing resolution.
Please contact your Representative and urge them to vote:
(1) NO on the conference report; and
(2) YES on a motion for a continuing resolution
For a good summary, please visit the Bill of Rights Defense Committee
's web site.
Thank you for your support!
I am also very interested in supporting the anti-Torture ammendment now in Congress. If you are interested, please check out the homepage of our small Amnesty International Student Chapter at UH
I'll be joining some local folks to try to lobby for this initiative.
Please e-mail me if you might want to join us. Thanks!