image © François ProulxThe continuous release of information concerning the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance practices has led to increased scrutiny by Congress. Two bills have been introduced that seek to address some of the NSA surveillance practices and address serious privacy concerns. First, Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the FISA Improvement Act of 2013 (PDF) that was approved by the Select Committee on Intelligence on October 31. The bill was not made publicly available until after the committee’s approval. The second, a bicameral and bipartisan bill, the USA Freedom Act of 2013 (PDF), was introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on October 29. This bill seeks to rein in the NSA’s bulk collection, analysis, and storage of Americans’ electronic communications. ARL with others in the public and private sectors support the USA Freedom Act of 2013.
image © Terry MadeleyOn October 22, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau announced that the FCC needs more time to review a petition requesting a waiver for certain e-reader devices to be exempt from the FCC’s advanced communications accessibility requirements. The petition was filed by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau issued an order (PDF) granting a temporary waiver from the accessibility requirements for certain e-readers until January 28, 2014. During this temporary waiver period, the FCC will evaluate the merits of the petition and decide whether to grant or deny the waiver request. For more background, read about the reply comments ARL submitted to the FCC in September 2013 opposing the waiver.
image © François ProulxOn September 30, ARL, together with 71 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent a letter to the US Senate and House Judiciary Committees (PDF), calling on Congress to provide greater transparency around national security–related requests by the US government to Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers for information about users and subscribers. The coalition strongly supports the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 (S. 1452) and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013 (H.R. 3035), each of which would clarify that companies have the right to publish basic statistics about the government demands for user data that they receive.
image © Terry MadeleyOn September 13, ARL submitted reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing a petition filed by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers. The manufacturers are requesting a waiver from the FCC that would exempt e-readers from the requirement that equipment used for advanced communication services (ACS) be accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities.
image © François ProulxYesterday ARL, together with 59 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent a letter (PDF) to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, calling on Congress to evaluate the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs and risks to civil liberties. Based upon such a review, the coalition urges Congress to enact critical reforms to ensure that government surveillance programs include robust safeguards for constitutional rights. Such reforms should include tightening the standards for collection and use of information, including communications metadata; increasing meaningful judicial authorization and review of such programs; and limiting the secrecy of such programs. The coalition sent the letter in advance of the Judiciary Committee's hearing today on the NSA surveillance programs.
image © François ProulxYesterday ARL, together with 19 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent a letter (PDF) to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), calling on the PCLOB to author a public report about surveillance authorities and risks to civil liberties. The coalition sent the letter in advance of the PCLOB's first-ever public workshop, held today, to discuss the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs that collect phone records and monitor Internet traffic.
US DOJ, image © David KingYesterday ARL, along with 22 other good-government groups, sent a letter (PDF) to the US Department of Justice urging Attorney General Eric Holder to make public any reports by Inspector General Michael Horowitz regarding the collection of Americans’ telephone records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. If the Office of the Inspector General has not previously conducted a full review of this program, the letter asks it to do so.
image © François ProulxToday, dozens of civil liberties organizations and Internet companies—including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, ThoughtWorks, and Americans for Limited Government—have joined the coalition demanding that Congress initiate a full-scale investigation into the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance programs. The coalition includes ARL, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and many other organizations and companies concerned with privacy and civil liberties.
image © François ProulxYesterday, ARL joined with a broad, bipartisan coalition of 86 organizations and Internet companies—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, and the American Civil Liberties Union—to send a letter to Congress demanding swift investigation and reform in light of the recent revelations about unchecked global surveillance.
A letter from ARL, ALA, and EDUCAUSE asking Senate leadership to oppose S.J. Res 6 and any other legislation to overturn or undermine the Net Neutrality decision adopted by the FCC.