President Obama supports extending Section 215 of the "Patriot" act, the section beloved by librarians nationwide. Section 215 undermines much of the patron privacy that librarians have protected for centuries by allowing the FBI to "request" library records and gagging the librarian from informing anyone that such a "request" was made. Section 215 was set to expire in December, but our new president is requesting that this part of the "Patriot" act be extended.
As the ALA stated when the original "Patriot" act was enacted.
Libraries provide a place to exercise intellectual freedom: a free and open exchange of knowledge and information where individuals may exercise freedom of inquiry as well as a right to privacy in regards to information sought. Privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association; and, in a library, the subject of users' interests should not be examined or scrutinized by others.
ALA considers that sections of the USA PATRIOT ACT are a present danger to the constitutional rights and privacy rights of library users.
The President promised to bring us "Change We Can Believe In" and to "revise the PATRIOT act to give law enforcement the tools it needs without jeopardizing the rights and ideas of all Americans", Section 215 must just be one of those tools.