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.
As the Senate begins deliberations on the bill, the 24 organizations called for “careful, public, and deliberate consideration of this legislation.” In addition, they requested “that the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees engage in complete and open consideration of the constitutional and other issues raised by H.R. 3361 that is needed to adequately examine and understand the full import of the language being voted on and to enable informed public debate on these critical issues. The result we seek is legislation that will protect constitutional and human rights, and assure necessary oversight of the intelligence community’s collection of individuals’ personal information.”
ARL issued a statement on May 22 detailing its concerns with H.R. 3361.
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in the US and Canada. ARL’s mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, facilitating the emergence of new roles for research libraries, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is on the web at http://www.arl.org/.