[Libs-Or] Fwd: Will You Stand for Privacy?
diedre08 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 11 11:13:42 PDT 2013
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Barbara Stripling <districtdispatch at alawash.org>
Date: Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Subject: Will You Stand for Privacy?
To: diedre08 at gmail.com
*Will You Stand for Privacy?*
*A Message to ALA Members from ALA President Barbara Stripling*
In early June, reports of the National Security Agency's secret practices
rang loudly around the world. News reports detailed PRISM, the U.S.
government surveillance program that obtains the Internet records from ten
U.S. companies: Verizon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL,
Skype, YouTube, and Apple. It appears that phone records, emails, photos,
and social networking activities have been collected and catalogued by the
FBI and the NSA over the last seven years.
ALA is saddened by recent news that the government has obtained vast
amounts of personal information and electronic communications of millions
of innocent people. The extent of the personal information received by the
government is very troubling. Those of you who have been long-time members
of ALA know that we have always argued that provisions in the USA PATRIOT
Act encroach on the privacy expectations of library users. Worse, the
surveillance law erodes our basic First Amendment rights, all while
undermining the very fabric of our democracy.
When we spoke out in 2001 against the passage of the PATRIOT Act, we were
concerned about Section 215, a provision of the law that allowed the
government powers to obtain "business records and other tangible things"
from suspected terrorists. We were fearful that the government would come
into libraries without warning and take library records on individual
patrons without reasonable suspicion. Libraries were one of the first
groups to publicly oppose the bill, and many legislators and privacy
experts have noted that Congress would not have understood the chilling
impact on privacy if librarians had not brought it to the nation's
attention. Librarians were so vocal in their opposition to the law that
Section 215 was called the "library provision." We could not have imagined
then what is happening today. Today, in spite of the leak allegations, the
government continues to use the "library provision" to vacuum up private
communication records of Americans on a massive scale.
Even the most cynical among us could not have predicted that the Obama
Administration--an administration that campaigned on the promise of greater
government transparency and openness--would allow a massive surveillance
program to infringe upon the basic civil liberties of innocent,
unsuspecting people. We understand the responsibility of the government to
investigate terrorism and other harmful acts. But the need to protect the
public does not mean that Americans have to relinquish their Fourth
Amendment privacy rights in the process. ALA has already joined other civil
call for more legal review, judicial oversight, transparency and
accountability. Our country needs to find the right balance.
We need to restore the balance between individual rights and terrorism
prevention, and libraries are one of the few trusted American institutions
that can lead true public engagement on our nation's surveillance laws and
procedures. Libraries have the tools, resources and leaders that can teach
Americans about their First Amendment privacy rights and help our
communities discuss ways to improve the balance between First Amendment
rights and government surveillance activities. And patrons are ready to
learn about their privacy rights from their libraries.
*Next Steps: Be a Leader at Your Library*
We are calling on librarians to facilitate local public dialogues and
educational sessions on government surveillance and transparency. To help
libraries convene privacy forums and moderate public conversations, ALA is
launching "ALA Liberty<http://email@example.com>,"
a new privacy website that contains tools that librarians can use to host
educational sessions and public forums that help Americans understand their
First and Fourth Amendment rights.
The website contains the following resources:
Guide for Moderators<http://firstname.lastname@example.org>(PDF)
This document outlines the steps and process for moderators to convene a
forum on privacy in their community. Libraries are a perfect location for
this form of civic engagement. Librarians may choose to serve as moderators
or find other individuals in the community to fill the moderator's role.
This PDF contains the information necessary for moderators of a forum on
Guide for Participants<http://email@example.com>(PDF)
Distribute this document to individuals participating in a library-hosted
community discussion on privacy. It provides an overview of the
deliberative process and outlines the privacy issues to be considered.
Checklist for Convening a Forum on
This document outlines the steps needed to host a successful forum on
privacy in your library.
Choose Privacy Week
This offers videos that can be used for programming on surveillance. The
site includes guest blogs from national privacy advocates and American
Library Association t-shirts and posters.
*Please do not respond to this email.* If you have any questions about the
privacy toolkit, contact Jazzy Wright, press officer of the ALA Washington
Office at jwright at alawash.org or (202) 628-8410
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