Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Improper Government Searching of Books?

I’ve written here before about attempts to control what we read in What’s To Be Done About Banned Books?

Today’s post is related but different

There’s a publication called The Bookseller.

They recently had an article called, Security staff begin checking books at US airports.

And, before I share excerpts, I’ll ask folks in countries besides the United States of America to share in the Comments anything happening in their countries that might be similar

So, a few excerpts:

“Security staff in US airports have reportedly been demanding passengers clear all the reading material out of their hand luggage into a separate bin during safety searches so that staff can search for items made of paper.”

Here’s where this “pilot program” has already begun:

“…searches have taken place in Missouri and various other airports including Los Angeles, Boise, Colorado Springs, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Boston Logan, Lubbock, Munoz Marin in Puerto Rico, Las Vegas McCarran and Phoenix Sky Harbour.”

The reason for it?

“Transportation Security Administration officials said the new process is because carry-on bags are getting so full that screening agents at x-ray machines are struggling to see what is inside and so cannot search for items effectively.”

The real reason?

“A senior policy analyst of the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project added: ‘Books raise very special privacy issues… there is a long history of special legal protection for the privacy of one’s reading habits in the United States, not only through numerous Supreme Court and other court decisions, but also through state laws that criminalise the violation of public library reading privacy or require a warrant to obtain book sales, rental, or lending records.'”

I’m not yet believing this is something sinister; though, in the current political climate, one can easily start seeing things that aren’t really there

And, if this does get worse; and, if I were to take a plane and have some books on me, even though I’d abhor doing it, I’d smile and say, “Sure, take a look at my books.”

But, that’s what I believe would be proper; and, it might just let me keep my books, when throwing a public fit about it might get me arrested…

Still, let’s all hope this and other programs like it stay non-tyrannical………
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6 responses to “Improper Government Searching of Books?

  1. martinaseveckepohlen July 3, 2017 at 7:24 am

    I read something similar a few weeks ago about Great Britain. I think, it was in the Guardian. A civil rights activist carrying a book about syria was asked to give up the book. Looking at the hysteria about security here, I wouldn’t wonder if it happened in Germany, too.


  2. juliecroundblog July 4, 2017 at 6:12 am

    This is getting creepy. We’ll be burning books next! The internet is so much more dangerous but I guess certain politicians are just making people nervous and there have been examples of foreign criminals possessing troubling literature.


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 4, 2017 at 6:17 am

      Yes, Julie, this raises issues like being “willing” to put up with curtailment of certain “freedoms” to protect society — though, this can also be an argument for governments to improperly curtail freedoms…


  3. Jane Watson July 5, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    :-) Given the fact that many publishers have not historically recognised the worth of many good books when they see them – many famous authors had to struggle to get their books accepted (James Joyce had to submit ‘Dubliners’ 18 times …) am I really supposed to believe that security personnel at any airport are going to realise the worth of, say, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ by Mohsin Hamid or even ‘The Good Terrorist’ by Doris Lessing? LOL.


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