On February 13, 2014, in a letter to the Chairman and the Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the American Library Association (ALA), and EDUCAUSE signaled their disappointment with the recent DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision to vacate the “no blocking” and “no discrimination” rules for public Internet access set forth by the FCC in 2010.
ARL joined 28 other organizations and 71 individuals in a letter opposing a copyright term of life plus 70 years in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Authors of the letter, sent to TPP negotiators on December 6, 2013, noted, “There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.”
On Wednesday, December 4, ARL joined 469 national organizations in urging the US Congress to replace sequestration with a bipartisan, balanced approach to deficit reduction, citing that "Nondefense discretionary (NDD) programs play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities and neighbors" and that "these programs have been cut dramatically and disproportionately in recent years as lawmakers work to reduce the deficit."
Letter to Congress (PDF)
On Monday, December 2, ARL joined others in the library community in submitting a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in regards to making its primary legal materials and publicly available comments accessible via the Government Printing Office (GPO) Federal Digital System, FDsys "in the event of a government shutdown or other circumstances that force the Commission's website offline."
Letter to the FCC (PDF)
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 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 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 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.