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USA PATRIOT Act

ARL Joins Coalition in Advocating for Surveillance Reform

telephone with sticker that says image © François Proulx

On June 18, 2014, ARL joined 36 organizations that engage on privacy and surveillance issues in a letter (PDF) to US Senate leadership expressing concerns with the version of the USA FREEDOM Act passed by the US House of Representatives on May 22 (H.R. 3361). The legislation was originally intended to limit the Government’s ability to conduct bulk collection of records. The letter notes that, before a vote on the House floor, last-minute changes were made that resulted in half of the bill’s co-sponsors withdrawing their support and voting against the bill because it was significantly weakened and lacked clarity.

 
 

ARL Joins Coalition in Letter Supporting Surveillance Reform

telephone with sticker that says image © François Proulx

On June 4, 2014, ARL joined 23 public sector organizations that engage on privacy and surveillance issues in a letter (PDF) to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and the chairs of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the USA FREEDOM Act, H.R. 3361 and S. 1599, a bill intended to limit the Government’s ability to conduct bulk collection of records. H.R. 3361 as passed by the US House of Representatives was significantly weakened and many provisions now lack clarity.

 
 

ARL Disappointed by Version of USA FREEDOM Act Passed by US House of Representatives

telephone with sticker that says "this phone is tapped"image © François Proulx

Today, May 22, 2014, the US House of Representatives voted 303 to 121 to pass H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act, after amending the bill twice in committees. The original version of the bill, which currently remains unaltered in the Senate, had 151 House co-sponsors. Some of these co-sponsors withdrew their support and opposed the version of H.R. 3361 reported out of the House Rules Committee on May 21 because of the significant changes made. Even several of those co-sponsors who voted in favor of H.R. 3361 expressed disappointment that the bill did not go far enough in curtailing the Government’s ability to conduct bulk collection of records and failed to protect privacy and civil liberties in the same manner as the prior versions.

 
 

Coalition Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee re NSA Surveillance Programs (July 30, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-to-senate-judiciary-cmte-re-nsa-surveillance-30july2013.pdf

 
 

ARL Joins Coalition in Urging Congress to Evaluate, Reform NSA Surveillance

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.

 
 

ARL, Coalition Request Public Report on Government Surveillance

phone-with-sticker-reading-this-phone-is-tappedimage © 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.

 
 

ARL Joins 22 Groups in Urging US Attorney General to Release Reports on Telephone Surveillance

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.

 
 

Letter Urging US Attorney General to Release Reports on Telephone Surveillance (July 8, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-doj-nsa-surveillance-8july13.pdf

 
 

Letter Requesting Public Report on Government Surveillance (July 8, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-to-pclob-re-nsa-8july13.pdf

 
   

Library Associations Statement On The USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009

On October 20, 2009, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Representatives Jerrold R. Nadler (D-NY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R.3845). The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the American Library Association (ALA) believe that this bill contains necessary and important reforms to the powers created by the USA PATRIOT Act.

pdf us-patriot-statement-2009.pdf

 
 

Library Associations Urge Congress to Increase Oversight and Enhance Civil Liberties Protections In Reauthorizing Provisions of the USA PATRIOT

The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) support including enhanced civil liberties and due process safeguards in the reauthorization of selected provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. When Congress last reauthorized these provisions in 2005, it recognized the need for oversight and sunsets to ensure that there would be an opportunity to revisit the Act and make necessary changes. Since then, Justice Department investigations have produced abundant evidence of the need for comprehensive reform of the Act. Congress should pass the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009 with key amendments to protect civil liberties.

pdf lib-assoc-statement-patriot-23sep09.pdf

 
   

Letter Supporting Data-Mining Provision in USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization (Sept. 23, 2005)

The undersigned organizations with diverse views write to urge that Senate Conferees accede to the House passed-version of the PATRIOT Act with respect to Section 132 of the House bill. It would require a government-wide survey of those federal programs that use "pattern-based" data-mining to identify a "pattern indicating terrorist or criminal activity." This provision would require the first full cataloging and assessment of government programs that employ this emerging technology. The provision would also require the Justice Department to identify legal impediments, if any, to the use of such technology.

pdf lt-patriot-data-mining-amendment-23sept05.pdf

 
   

“Reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act: Ensuring Liberty and Security”: A Summary of the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

On September 23, 2009 the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (Patriot Act) that are set to expire or sunset on December 31, 2009.

pdf uspatriot_summary092309.pdf

 
       

Terrorism: Section by Section Analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act

Analysis of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act, Public Law 107-56, part of the Congressional response to September 11.

pdf patriot-act-analysis-2001.pdf

 
   
 
 

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