[Libs-Or] ALA Keeps a Watchful Eye on the PATRIOT Act

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Fri Sep 25 22:50:55 PDT 2009

ALA Keeps a Watchful Eye on the PATRIOT Act
<http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=3703> September 24th, 2009 |
Category: Civil Liberties, Intellectual Freedom, and
OGR <http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?cat=17>

Issues surrounding the USA PATRIOT Act and related privacy and surveillance
laws are of utmost importance to the library community. Since the swift
passage of this bill, which was signed into law a little over a month after
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the ALA has focused primarily on
Section 215 because of its potential to provide law enforcement with access
to confidential library records and another investigative tool that has even
less legal review, national security letters

The ALA has consistently sought reforms to the PATRIOT Act and other
surveillance laws in order to protect library patrons and the general public
from abuse of these investigative tools.


Last week, Congress’ attention turned once again to this legislation to
begin addressing key provisions of the PATRIOT Act that will expire – or
“sunset” – if not reauthorized by December 31, 2009.  The three sections
scheduled to sunset are Section 301 (roving wiretaps), Section 6001 (“lone
wolf” surveillance), and Section 215 (the business records provision, often
referred to as the “library provision”).

On September 17, the “Judiciously Using Surveillance Tools in
Counterterrorism Efforts” (JUSTICE) Act was introduced into the Senate.
Another Senate bill, the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009, was
introduced a few days later on September 22. Both bills would restore a
balance between our nation’s surveillance laws and our civil liberties;
whereas, previously introduced bills have sought to merely reauthorize these
three PATRIOT Act sections without reforms.

The ALA is encouraged by the introduction of these two strong bills, as well
as the oversight hearings held in both the House and the Senate on September
22 and 23, respectively.

This post is the first in an irregular, but ongoing, series of blogs to
highlight such activities and to point readers to ALA’s Web pages and other
sources of information on these important issues.  As Congress continues to
draft key surveillance laws to reauthorize PATRIOT Act sections and as the
public debate heats up, the ALA Washington Office will provide ongoing
reports and updates on the status of legislation and information on how
different provisions in proposed bills will affect libraries. We will also
alert supporters and enlist their involvement with grassroots advocacy at
critical times.







For additional information about these issues and ALA’s policy positions on
the confidentiality of library records as well as the PATRIOT Act, see these
OGR Web pages<http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/federallegislation/theusapatriotact/index.cfm>and
Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) Web


*House Hearing: September 22, 2009
*The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil
Rights and Civil Liberties, chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-D), held an
oversight hearing on the USA PATRIOT Act. More information and the webcast
are available here <http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/hear_090922.html>*.*


*Senate Hearing: September 23, 2009**
*The* *Senate* *Judiciary Committee held a full-committee hearing,
the USA PATRIOT Act: Ensuring Liberty and Security.” More information and
the webcast are available
.* *

*Key Senate Bills as of September 24, 2009:
*S. 1686 <http://feingold.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=317927> (JUSTICE Act)
S. 1692 <http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200909/092209b.html> (USA PATRIOT Act
Sunset Extension Act of 2009)


*Key House Bills as of September 24, 2009:
*H.R. 1800<http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/federallegislation/legwewatch/index.cfm#Intellectual%20Freedom>(National
Security Letters Reform Act of 2009)
H.R. 1467<http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/advocacy/federallegislation/legwewatch/index.cfm#Intellectual%20Freedom>(Safe
and Secure America Act of 2009)

*DOJ Letter to Sen. Leahy*
US Department of Justice letter to Senator Patrick Leahy September 14,



<mail://lbradley@alawash.org/>Lynne Bradley <lbradley at alawash.org>
Director, ALA Office of Government Relations


Diedre Conkling
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR  97365
Work phone & fax:  541-265-3066
Work email:  diedre at beachbooks.org
Home email:  diedre08 at gmail.com
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