Thursday, December 22, 2005

Interlibrary loan and Homeland Security

[12/27/05-- this story was a HOAX. Of course we should be asking ourselves what we are going to say when they come knocking at your door, looking at your library records, tapping your phone, snooping in your house, following your web-surfing and reading your email] I'm posting Boingboing's permalink regarding this story since Boingboing pretty much sums it up:
Update: "DHS visits student over Little Red Book" report
Interlibrary loan is a service you use if, say, your library does not have a copy of a book you'd like to read and cite in a history or sociology paper you're working on. Your library contacts another library and the book is sent. We have a workteam dedicated to that function at the libary I work at, and it is all in the name of scholarly sharing of information, academic freedom, and libraries doing what libraries are meant to do: help you out when you'd like to research, report, read, relate, study, communicate knowledge, etc.

The college student in the story borrowed a book via ILL and supposedly because the book was written by Mao Tse Tung, and the student travels internationally Homeland Security officers visited the student at his house and questioned him.

The student, if this is true, must've been terrified, and my point here is about a chilling effect police behavior like this has- you can get in trouble for reading a book.

Of course there are doubts that this happened- it's too ridiculous to be true & there are supposedly holes in the story.

But really, think about how stupid this is- it's like saying if I read Marx I want to be a communist, if I read a book about Hitler I want to be a nazi, if I read a book by St. Augustine I want to be a christian. And what the hell does communism have to do w/ homeland security anyway? Nothing, obviously- there must be thousands of communists in the U.S. & who gives a shit?

My other point is that once you give these shady police agencies the power to snoop, they are going to snoop. They're don't seem to be accountable to anyone, certainly not the people of the U.S. They are like a private security force.

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