January 28, 2022

Report: “Utah librarians Talk About 9/11, the Patriot Act, and How They Became Privacy Warriors”

From the The Salt Lake Tribune:

Within seven weeks of the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Center and hit the Pentagon in 2001, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act into law — and librarians were in shock.

“When it first hit, I think there was a lot of panic,” said Wanda Mae Huffaker, public service librarian for the Salt Lake County Library. “We were all quite worried that the FBI was going to come in, and what’s going to happen. We didn’t know how or what to do. We were all worried they were going to run in and grab our computers. And if we said anything, we were going to get arrested.”

Among the many provisions in the Patriot Act — a grab bag of anti-terrorism policy changes that did everything from expanding law enforcement’s surveillance powers to requiring people to give their addresses when buying over-the-counter cold medicine — were two that directly affected America’s libraries.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.