America’s loss of freedom

Kim Dammers

Dear Lawrentians:The U.S. Patriot Act of 2001 restricts a number of freedoms that Americans had. One of these is unencumbered and unobserved access to sources of information, something I thought was implicit in a Lawrence education.

Previously, officials had to have a subpoena in conjunction with a criminal investigation in order to see a library patron’s records. This is no longer the case. FBI agents can view the records of someone suspected of possibly being related to terrorism or foreign intelligence merely by obtaining a warrant signed by any judge in America.

What is more disturbing to me is that libraries are forbidden from telling patrons whether the FBI has requested such information on them. This is the law.

Carleton College’s library informs its users about the Patriot Act with a link on its front page (http://www.library.carleton.edu), which can be followed for more information on the act. Why has Lawrence done nothing like this?

Last month, I sent an e-mail to the head of the library and to President Warch asking this question. I still have not heard back from either of them.

Why does Lawrence’s library not inform its patrons? Where is the application of “Light! More Light!”? Of “Veritas Est Lux”?

Kim Dammers, LU 1966

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