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Letter in Support of USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685)

On July 30, ARL and more than 40 other organizations signed a letter to Senate and House leadership in support of USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685), which will prohibit "bulk" collection, strengthen transparency reporting provisions, and strengthen reforms to the FISA Court (FISC) process to provide more accountability.

pdfltr-Support-S2685-FREEDOM-31jul2014.pdf

 
 

USA FREEDOM Transparency Letter

On July 29, 2014, ARL joined OpenTheGovernment.org and 19 other organizations that engage on privacy and surveillance issues in a letter to US Congressional leadership expressing support for the compromise version of the USA FREEDOM Act introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

pdfltr-USA-FREEDOM-transparency-final-29jul2014.pdf

 
 

Coalitions Support Leahy’s USA FREEDOM Bill for Surveillance Reform

telephone with sticker that says image © François Proulx

This week, ARL joined two groups of organizations that engage on privacy and surveillance issues in letters to US Congressional leadership expressing support for the compromise version of the USA FREEDOM Act introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on July 29, 2014 (S. 2685). The July 29 letter focuses on the enhanced transparency provision (PDF) and the July 30 letter addresses the bill more comprehensively (PDF). Both letters urge Congress to act swiftly and pass the new version of the bill, without any dilution or amendment. 

 
 

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.

 
 

Email Privacy Act Cosponsored by Majority of House of Representatives; ARL Applauds Milestone in ECPA Reform

e-mail-iconimage 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.

 
 

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.

 
 

Letter to Senate Leadership on USA FREEDOM Process

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.

pdfltr-Senate-leadership-USA-Freedom-12jun2014.pdf

 
 

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.

 
 

Letter to Congress in Opposition of Bulk Collection

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.

pdf ltr-bulk-collection-to-Congress-1apr2014.pdf

 
 

Letter to OSTP Requesting Comments for "Big Data" Review

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.” 

pdf ltr-to-ostp-re-big-data-privacy-10feb2014.pdf

 
 

White House Requests Public Comment on Big Data and Privacy

White Houseimage © 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:

 
 

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.

 
 

Two Bills Seek to Address NSA Surveillance Practices

phone with sticker that says This Phone Is Tappedimage © François ProulxThe continuous release of information concerning the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance practices has led to increased scrutiny by Congress. Two bills have been introduced that seek to address some of the NSA surveillance practices and address serious privacy concerns. First, Sen. Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the FISA Improvement Act of 2013 (PDF) that was approved by the Select Committee on Intelligence on October 31. The bill was not made publicly available until after the committee’s approval. The second, a bicameral and bipartisan bill, the USA Freedom Act of 2013 (PDF), was introduced by Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Sen. Leahy (D-VT) on October 29. This bill seeks to rein in the NSA’s bulk collection, analysis, and storage of Americans’ electronic communications. ARL with others in the public and private sectors support the USA Freedom Act of 2013.

 
 

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.

 
 

Letter Urging US Government Toward Greater Surveillance Transparency (July 18, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-us-gov-NSA-transparency.pdf

 
 

Letter to Congress in Support of Surveillance Acts (September 30, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-to-congress-judiciary-cmte-re-transparency-bills-support-30sep2013.pdf

 
 

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

 
 

Coalition Urges Senate to Protect Americans’ Privacy in Cybersecurity Legislation

cybersecurity-iconimage © Free PressYesterday ARL joined 37 other privacy and civil liberties organizations and companies in a letter (PDF) urging the US Senate to adhere to a basic set of principles to protect Americans’ privacy when drafting its cybersecurity legislation.

 
 

Letter Urging US Senate to Protect Americans' Privacy in Cybersecurity Legislation (June 25, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-cybersecurity-privacy-25jun13.pdf

 
 

Over 100 Civil Liberties Organizations and Internet Companies Demand Full-Scale Congressional Investigation of NSA Surveillance

phone with sticker on it saying "this phone is tapped"image © François ProulxToday, dozens of civil liberties organizations and Internet companies—including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, ThoughtWorks, and Americans for Limited Government—have joined the coalition demanding that Congress initiate a full-scale investigation into the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance programs. The coalition includes ARL, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and many other organizations and companies concerned with privacy and civil liberties. 

 
 

Letter Asking Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to Urge Disclosure re NSA Surveillance (June 18, 2013)

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.

pdf ltr-to-privacy-civil-liberties-oversight-board-re-surveillance-18june2013.pdf

 
 

ARL Joins 86 Orgs, Internet Companies Demanding Committee Investigation, End to Dragnet Spying

phone with sticker on it saying "this phone is tapped"image © François ProulxYesterday, ARL joined with a broad, bipartisan coalition of 86 organizations and Internet companies—including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reddit, Mozilla, and the American Civil Liberties Union—to send a letter to Congress demanding swift investigation and reform in light of the recent revelations about unchecked global surveillance.

 
 

Institute for Internet Culture, Policy & Law to Highlight Privacy, Accessibility

cornell-u-professional-studies-campusimage © CornellPrivacy and accessibility issues will be featured at this year's Cornell University Institute for Internet Culture, Policy, and Law (ICPL), to be held September 18–20, 2013, at Cornell. The oldest IT, law, and policy conference in the US, ICPL has broadened its reach to address rapidly evolving legal, policy, and social concerns related to Internet culture. The number of participants is limited to 50, allowing for in-depth exploration of topics. Faculty; higher ed administrators; academic librarians; and IT, legal, policy, and student life professionals debate, learn, and share ideas, experiences, and expertise at the three-day institute. 

 
 

ARL Applauds Judiciary Committee Action to Reform Privacy Laws

patrick-leahySenator Patrick Leahy
image © World Bank
On Thursday, April 25, the US Senate Judiciary Committee took another crucial step toward fixing outdated privacy laws by endorsing a bill proposed by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that includes vital reforms to give appropriate privacy protection to e-mail and cloud storage. The committee passed a similar bill in November 2012, but the legislative session ended before the measure could reach the full Senate. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) applauds Chairman Leahy and all members of the Senate Judiciary Committee for their strong, bipartisan support for reasonable privacy protections online.

 
 

Letter Urging Representatives to Vote ‘No’ on H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA) (Apr. 16, 2012)

We the undersigned organizations urge you to vote "no" on H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA). We are gravely concerned that this bill will allow companies that hold very sensitive and personal information to liberally share it with the government, which could then use the information without meaningful oversight for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.

pdf aclu-coalition-cispa-16apr2012.pdf

 
 
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