[Libs-Or] INFORMATION: FTRF, ALA join efforts to protect privacy and increase transparency around surveillance

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 18 13:15:25 PDT 2013

FTRF, ALA join efforts to protect privacy and increase transparency around
*Jonathan Kelley*, 4 hours ago

Cross-posted to the OIF Blog <http://www.oif.ala.org/oif> and Choose
Privacy Week <http://www.chooseprivacyweek.org/>

The Freedom to Read Foundation and American Library Association have joined
with dozens of technology firms and other civil liberty organizations in
calling on the Obama Administration and Congress to increase transparency
surrounding government surveillance efforts.

In a letter
this morning, FTRF, ALA, and the other groups led by the Center for
Democracy and Technology <http://www.cdt.org/> demanded that technology
companies be permitted to release information about the number of requests
for information under the USA Patriot Act and other authorities, as well as
that the government itself release its own data on surveillance.

>From the letter:

"As an initial step, we request that the Department of Justice, on behalf
of the relevant executive branch agencies, agree that Internet, telephone,
and web-based service providers may publish specific numbers regarding
government requests authorized under specific national security
authorities, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and
the NSL statutes. We further urge Congress to pass legislation requiring
comprehensive transparency reporting by the federal government and clearly
allowing for transparency reporting by companies without requiring
companies to first seek permission from the government or the FISA Court."

Today's letter includes an appeal to the country's innovative tradition:

"Just as the United States has long been an innovator when it comes to the
Internet and products and services that rely upon the Internet, so too
should it be an innovator when it comes to creating mechanisms to ensure
that government is transparent, accountable, and respectful of civil
liberties and human rights."

See CDT's full post on the
 Here's press coverage about the letter from the Washington
New York Times<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/us/politics/bipartisan-backlash-grows-against-domestic-surveillance.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0>,
and a post on Yahoo's policy

Campaign for Reader Privacy calls for new privacy legislation

ALA today also joined with its partners in the Campaign for Reader
Privacy<http://www.readerprivacy.org/>to call on Congress to pass
legislation to restore privacy protections for
bookstore and library records that were stripped by the Patriot Act as a
first step toward reining in what the group calls "runaway surveillance

The statement points out that,

"Two years ago, Democratic and Republican members of Congress introduced a
bill requiring the government to show that those whose reading records it
wishes to gather are actually suspected of criminal activity--something that
is required by the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from unreasonable
searches and seizures, and the First Amendment, which guards our right to
access information of our own choosing. But Congress ignored that bill and
reauthorized what we now know are flawed, dangerous powers."

It continues, "What law-abiding Americans are reading is nobody's business."

See the full Campaign for Reader Privacy statement
The Campaign for Reader Privacy was established in 2004  by ALA, the
American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers,
and PEN American Center.

History of support for privacy protections

The Freedom to Read Foundation and ALA have long been concerned about and
prioritized education and advocacy around reader privacy issues as
fundamental to our right to access information.

FTRF has engaged in several litigation
efforts<http://ftrf.site-ym.com/?History> (including
John Doe and ACLU v. Holder and Library Connection v. Gonzales) to mitigate
the excesses of the Patriot Act and other post-9/11 surveillance
initiatives. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors Choose
Privacy Week <http://www.ala.org/chooseprivacyweek> and cosponsors the new
ala.org/liberty <http://www.ala.org/liberty> site, which includes the Privacy
several years ago to help libraries provide education about privacy and
secure the privacy of their users.  ALA is also part of the "Stop Watching
Us" <https://optin.stopwatching.us/> coalition, a broad, bipartisan
organizing effort to demand accountability around surveillance.

At the ALA Annual Conference last month, the ALA Council passed a
resolution<http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=4803>in support of privacy,
protection for whistleblowers, and increased
government transparency.


*Diedre Conkling**
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude."--Maya Angelou
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