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The Day We Fight Back: NSA Reform Bills to End Mass Surveillance and Provide Greater Transparency

Benjamin Franklin with quote from paragraph 2Benjamin FranklinToday, February 11, 2014, individuals and groups are participating in “The Day We Fight Back,” a day of action protesting the US government’s mass surveillance programs. Revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) programs, including the breadth and scope of bulk collection of data conducted under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act (also known as the “library records provision”) have raised serious concerns regarding curtailment of civil liberties and the compatibility of these programs with the First and Fourth Amendments.

 
 

ARL Disappointed with Court Ruling on Network Neutrality

electronic-superhighway-by-nam-june-paik“Electronic Superhighway” by Nam June Paik, image © The QOn January 14, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order’s anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules, a regulation governing network neutrality. The court’s ruling striking down the Open Internet Order could result in Internet service providers providing prioritized delivery for those willing to pay to promote their content, advancing commercial interests over research library and higher education interests. Although the DC Circuit rejected the Open Internet Order, the court upheld the FCC’s authority to regulate broadband services, thus leaving open the possibility of the FCC reclassifying broadband providers or redrafting its network neutrality rules in accordance with the opinion.

 
 

ARL and ALA File Comments to FCC on E-Reader Accessibility

image © Terry MadeleyEarlier this month, ARL and the American Library Association (ALA) filed additional reply comments (PDF) to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding a request to waive e-reader access requirements for individuals with disabilities. In the comments, the Associations noted, “We are writing to reiterate our opposition to the waiver sought by the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers (‘the Manufacturers’) and present new information regarding the manner in which the e-readers covered by the Manufacturers’ petition (‘basic e-readers’) are utilized.”

 
 

Library Community Encourages FCC to Make Materials Accessible via FDsys

F C C website screenshotFCC websiteOn Monday, December 2, ARL joined others in the library community in a letter (PDF) requesting that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) make its primary legal materials and publicly available comments accessible via the Government Printing Office (GPO) Federal Digital System, FDsys. The signatories noted that, “In doing so, the Commission stands not only to improve the public’s access to official government information and ability to participate in critical governmental processes during periods of crisis, but serve as a model for other agencies to implement the principles of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative.”

 
 

ARL, Coalition Voice Support for Surveillance Transparency Legislation

phone with sticker that says This Phone Is Tappedimage © 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.

 
 
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