Letter from ARL and 23 other organizations to US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Chairmen Patrick J. Leahy, and Dianne Feinstein, and Ranking Members Churck Grassley and Saxby Chambliss showing concern over the USA FREEDOM bill changes made in the House and the breadth of the surveillance that the bill could be read to authorize.
image courtesy gezegenARL is pleased that on June 17, 2014, the Email Privacy Act, H.R. 1852, reached a milestone of 218 cosponsors, representing support from a majority of the members of the US House of Representatives.
In February 2014, ARL joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and 23 other organizations in a letter requesting that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) solicit public comments regarding the White House review of “Big Data and the Future of Privacy.”
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.
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.
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.
On April 1, 2014, the Association of Research Libraries joined over 40 other organizations in signing a letter on bulk collection to Congress. The letter states that any legislation should prohibit bulk collection of all types and expresses support of the USA FREEDOM Act.
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.
image © Tom LohdanIn February 2014, ARL joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and 23 other organizations in a letter (PDF) requesting that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) solicit public comments regarding the White House review of “Big Data and the Future of Privacy.” On March 4, OSTP announced a public comment period that will end on March 31. OSTP is asking for comment on the following questions:
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.