By Rachel Deahl -- Publishers Weekly, 4/1/2008 12:26:00 PM
When AAP Pat Schroeder talked about hopes for the publishing industry as a Democratic Congress came into power in Washington in January 2007, she said that making changes to the Patriot Act was on the top of her list. Now Schroeder and the AAP, along with the ABA, ALA and PEN American Center, have called on the Congress to alter aspects of the legislation that will, in their eyes, restore reader privacy. In an open letter published today in the Capitol Hill trade, Roll Call, the groups asked Congress to approve the National Security Letters Reform Act (S. 2088 and H.R. 3189).
The letter is an outgrowth of the Campaign for Reader Privacy, which the four organizations launched in 2004 to, primarily, fight the tenets of the Patriot Act that allow the federal government to force libraries and bookstores to release their records detailing purchases and book withdrawals. In the letter, the groups note that "the FBI has violated the law thousands of times since Congress expanded its authority to issue National Security Letters in 2001." Their hope, the groups go on to say in the letter, is that the NSL Reform Act will "reestablish the kinds of checks the Founding Fathers demanded."