On October 9, 2013, ARL joined more than 300 universities and businesses; higher education associations; and nonprofit, industry, and research organizations in a letter to US Senate Commerce Committee leadership supporting reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. The COMPETES Act promotes innovation through research and development to improve the competitiveness of the United States. The legislation is focused on the activities and programs of several agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
On July 18, 2013, 65 privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter to the US government, urging them to show greater transparency in NSA requests to web-based service providers for information on users.
On September 30, 2013, 34 more groups (including ARL) signed the letter.
On July 30, 2013, ARL, together with 59 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter 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 July 31 hearing on the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs.
On July 8, 2013, ARL, along with 22 other good-government groups, sent this letter 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.
On June 18, 2013, ARL joined with 33 other organizations in a letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board asking them to urge President Obama to order the public disclosure of information about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance. The letter asks the board to urge disclosure of sufficient information to enable the public to understand the existing legal authorities for national security surveillance of Americans and the Obama administration’s interpretation of their scope, and to permit an informed public debate on government surveillance.
On November 1, 2013, ARL joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and more than 30 other organizations in a letter to the chairs of the US congressional committee deliberating a budget agreement. The letter states, “as you begin your discussions on a budget agreement for FY14, the higher education associations listed below encourage you to pursue two key goals: 1) eliminating the FY14 sequester reductions; and 2) placing a high priority on the investments that will build our economy in both the short and long term."
On September 30, 2013, ARL, together with 71 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter to the US Senate and House Judiciary Committees, 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 their users and subscribers." Based upon such a review, the coalition gives its strong support in favor of the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013.
The coalition sent the letter to urge Congress to hold hearings for these bills, and it was a follow up to the July 18 letter (PDF) that the coalition wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On July 8, 2013, ARL, together with 19 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter 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 July 9, to discuss the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs that collect phone records and monitor Internet traffic.
On June 25, 2013, ARL joined 37 other privacy and civil liberties organizations and companies in a letter urging the US Senate to adhere to a basic set of principles to protect Americans’ privacy when drafting its cybersecurity legislation.
On June 11, 2013, five major library associations—ARL, American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), American Library Association (ALA), Medical Library Association (MLA), Special Libraries Association (SLA)—sent this letter to the US Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, supporting President Obama's nomination of Davita Vance-Cooks for Public Printer of the United States. The Public Printer oversees the US Government Printing Office (GPO).