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Dear Senator Kyl, Since You Say There’s No Privacy in Reading…

On Thursday March 10, Republican Senator Jon Kyl explained why he thinks people should stop worrying and love the government for using the Patriot Act to track their reading habits:

How does the law enforcement official know in advance, before he sees the order from the bookseller, that it includes the book? That is, how do you prove the standard that is required in this amendment just to obtain the record? Remember, we’re just obtaining a record of something. There’s no expectation of privacy…. There is no expectation of privacy. Nobody believes that a library record or a sale over the internet is a private record where there’s an expectation of privacy.

So Senator Kyl thinks there’s no expectation of privacy when a person buys a book, checks something out of the library or buys something over the internet?

That’s good to know. I think I’m going to write Senator Kyl a letter right now.

James M. Cook
52 Conway Road
Camden, ME 04843
March 28, 2011

Senator Jon Kyl
730 Hart Senate Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Kyl,

I am writing today with a request for information based on the standard you set forth in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of March 10, 2011, during which you declared:

“How does the law enforcement official know in advance, before he sees the order from the bookseller, that it includes the book? That is, how do you prove the standard that is required in this amendment just to obtain the record? Remember, we’re just obtaining a record of something. There’s no expectation of privacy…. There is no expectation of privacy. Nobody believes that a library record or a sale over the internet is a private record where there’s an expectation of privacy.”

We learn something new every day, and today I have you to thank: I’ve just learned from you that there is no expectation of privacy when a person buys a book, checks something out of the library or buys something over the internet.
With this in mind, I’d like you to share the following information about your activities:

1. Do you read any magazines (for the articles, of course) that might make your constituents blush? Please supply a list of all written materials – including books and magazines – bought by you and/or your wife over the last twelve months from booksellers. Titles are important.

2. Do you have any embarrassing health conditions or legal problems? Please supply a list of all items borrowed by you and/or your wife from libraries over the last twelve months. Again, include all titles, especially those related to health or legal conditions.

3. What size and sort of underwear do you and your wife wear? Please supply a list of all undergarments bought by your and/or your wife over the internet over the last twelve months. Please be sure to include the name of the item and its size.

I am looking forward to your response with the requested information. Surely, sincere you have no expectation of privacy in this regard, I expect your response will be both prompt and thorough.

Openly Yours,
James M. Cook

As soon as I get a response from Senator Kyl, I’ll let you know. After all, he really should have no expectation of privacy in the matter.

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