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DOJ drops appeal in library Patriot Act gag order case

[JURIST] Federal prosecutors have decided to drop its appeal in a case where the government sought to maintain a gag order to conceal the identity of a library that was subject to FBI demands for library patron records under the USA PATRIOT Act [JURIST news archive]. The American Civil Liberties Union last year filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] on behalf of the Connecticut library, and US District Judge Janet Hall lifted the gag order [JURIST report] last year, ruling that it unfairly prevented librarians from participating in debate about the proper revision of the Patriot Act. The prosecution appealed, and the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit [official website] granted a stay [JURIST report] of the district court decision while it considered the case [JURIST report].

Prosecutors said Wednesday they had decided to drop the case due to civil liberties safeguards that were built into the recently signed Patriot Act renewal [JURIST report]. The renewal legislation contains added language to clarify that libraries functioning in their traditional roles are not subject to National Security Letters (NSL) [sample text, PDF; ACLU backgrounder] and their accompanying gag orders. AP has more.

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