RealNews

Vt. bookseller purges files to avoid potential `Patriot Act' searches

Some booksellers are troubled by a post-Sept. 11 federal law that gives the government broad powers to seize the records of bookstores and libraries to find out what people have been reading. Bear Pond Books in Montpelier will purge purchase records for customers if they ask, and it has already dumped the names of books bought by its readers’ club. “When the CIA comes and asks what you’ve read because they’re suspicious of you, we can’t tell them because we don’t have it,” store co-owner Michael Katzenberg said. “That’s just a basic right, to be able to read what you want without fear that somebody is looking over your shoulder to see what you’re reading.” The Patriot Act approved after the 2001 terrorist attacks allows government agents to seek court orders to seize records “for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” Full Story

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