18 December 2005

Library: Use with caution

From the [Connecticut] Standard-Times:

A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
...the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

While Libraries have been very vocal about their attempts to keep borrowing information private, apparently interlibrary-loan (ILLO) presents a large loophole. These days, most ILLO requests are sent through large networks -- networks which can presumably be incercepted by the Department of Homeland Security. This is very creepy, folks. Very creepy.


Rob said...

What I find really alarming about this story is that there was a university library without a copy of The Little Red Book...

Cheryl said...

Well, he did request the official Peking edition... so the library may have had a translation on the shelf.

Tim said...

This shows how absolutely desperate for leads the Heimatpoletzei must be. "Ooh, look -- someone's taking out Mao's Little Red Book! And look, he's been visiting forriners! He's a terr'ist for sure!"

Ridiculous, and at the same time, frightening. Stupidity and power is a very bad combination.

John McAdams said...

There is plenty of reason to doubt that this story is in fact true.

Apparently Bogus: Homeland Security Visited Student Who Ordered Mao’s “Little Red Book”

Mike DeWolfe said...

Wow. Using blogspot post to refute another blogspot post that came from an Internet story.
Didn't sasquatch try this ploy to cover up UFOs?