Since the official launch of the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) on February 17, the efforts of booksellers and librarians who are gathering signatures on petitions urging Congress to restore safeguards for reader privacy that were eliminated by Section 215 of the Patriot Act have garnered press coverage, ranging from New England to Seattle. Now, ABA has created a press release template that bookstores can use to bring the campaign to the attention of their local media. To access the sample release, click here.
The goal of CRP, which is sponsored by ABA, the American Library Association (ALA), and PEN American Center, is to present one million signatures to members of Congress in support of legislation to amend Section 215. This includes the Freedom to Read Protection Act (H.R. 1157) and the Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act (S. 1709).
Section 215 of the Patriot Act amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to give the FBI vastly expanded authority to search business records, including the records of bookstores and libraries. Under the Act, the FBI may request the records secretly; it is not required to prove that there is "probable cause" to believe the person whose records are being sought has committed a crime; and the bookseller or librarian who receives an order is prohibited from revealing it to anyone except those whose help is needed to produce the records.
Since early January, booksellers have gathered thousands of signatures on petitions. As the drive continues, ABA is asking booksellers to periodically (every few hundred signatures) mail their petitions to ABA, Restore Reader Privacy, Attn.: Oren Teicher, 828 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY 10591, rather than wait until the end of the campaign.
For a previous article on booksellers' efforts in the campaign, click here.
To find answers to frequently asked questions about the bookstore drive to collect customer signatures, click here.
Booksellers can order additional petition pads by calling ABA's Information Department at (800) 637-0037, ext. 1292 or 1293, or for a downloadable PDF of the petition, click here.