Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

ALA welcomes USA Freedom Act

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Jazzy Wright | November 4, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Library Association is rallying librarians to support the USA Freedom Act, a bill that will improve the balance between terrorism prevention and personal privacy protection. The USA FREEDOM Act, which was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and PATRIOT Act author Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), would place restrictions on bulk phone and Internet government surveillance, and permit companies to make public the number of FISA orders and National Security Letters received.

“We waited for more than a decade for privacy reforms of this magnitude,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “The public deserves more transparency and accountability than what we’ve been seeing from the Obama Administration. The library community welcomes this bipartisan effort because it shows us that reasonable privacy expectations are possible.”

The bicameral legislation would rewrite section 215 of the Patriot Act—also called the “library provision” because of the library community’s concerns about the PATRIOT Act—and impose new limits on section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The bill would also require the government to make disclosures about the intelligence surveillance it conducts and establish a process for declassifying opinions issued by the FISA Court.

The American Library Association’s involvement in privacy policies stems from the library principle to protect patron confidentiality. Since details of the National Security Agency’s surveillance policies were released, the Association has developed a civil liberties toolkit that helps libraries educate Americans about their First and Fourth Amendment rights.

The American Library Association is encouraging ALA members, library supporters and privacy advocates to tell their U.S. representatives and senators to cosponsor the Freedom Act. Take the small action to call or email your representative today.

Editorial: Surveillance, Security and Civil Liberties

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

March 4, 2012

Taking office not long after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly wisely decided to beef up the Police Department’s counterterrorism program significantly, to help federal law enforcement agencies avert another disaster.

Unfortunately, they did not provide for sufficiently strong supervision of this formidable and far-flung intelligence operation — to check the well-known tendency of all such agencies, operating in secrecy and under murky rules, to abuse their powers. It appears that many thousands of law-abiding Muslim-Americans have paid a real price for that omission.

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Related article:
Kelly Defends Surveillance of Muslims
(New York Times | Joseph Goldstein | February 27, 2012)

Why 2012 is starting to look like 1984

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Geoff Duncan |January 4, 2012

Between SOPA, NDAA, telecommunications surveillance, and people’s willingness to share endlessly via social networking, will 2012 mark the year consumers irreversibly surrender their privacy and freedoms?

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Why does safer mean less free?

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Jeffrey Rosen | September 8, 2011

After Sept. 11, we’ve been told repeatedly, “Everything changed.” When it comes to the legal balance between liberty and security, however, the truism is at least partly true.

There’s no question that the legal dynamics of privacy and security were transformed by a series of laws and technologies that, in some cases, made us less free but no more safe. Many of these legal responses — the PATRIOT Act, for example — had been proposed years, even decades, earlier but passed only in the wave of fear after the terrorist attacks.

In particular, three of the post-Sept. 11 legal reactions — involving terrorist detentions, domestic surveillance and airport security — have made us a different nation than we could have imagined 10 years ago

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