Attorney gives student privacy lecture

By Ashley Cook
October 11, 2007


William H. Ewing, Esq., member of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, gave a lecture on student privacy rights at Holy Spirit Library on Sept. 28.

Ewing’s open discussion was based on the laws representing the USA Patriot Act of 2001, passed shortly after the attacks on 9/11.

This act entitles that the FBI can issue security records and obtain the records of anyone they deem as a suspect of any crime. By using this act, the authorities can enter a library and obtain any information they wish to have.

“The FBI has an unfair advantage,” Natalie Candido, junior marketing major, said. “With this type of power they can look at anyone’s records, whether they are accused of a crime or not. Where is the privacy in that?”

Three topics were the basis of his overall speech: privacy of records, book banning and 21st century parallel sensory of the internet.

By using previous news stories, Board of Education vs. Pico (1982) and four librarians from Conneticut vs. state (2006) as his examples of the three topics, Ewing said it is important to keep a student’s records private.

In these cases ordinary citizens fought authorities to ensure the privacy of individuals was kept. Ewing asked the audience for their opinions about individual and student privacy.

Ewing stated that in the case of an FBI agent asking to obtain information for a suspects record, the librarian in charge is the only person notified and is not allowed to share any of the information with anyone.

Ewing questioned if the authorities rights to obtain any information is righteous. Ewing believed that only if a person was a primal suspect should their information be disposed.

“It seems fair to me,” Kristie Dafnis, junior business major, said. “If someone is accused of a crime, I would want the authorities to be able to obtain any information they need.”

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Ashley Cook

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