The American Library Association recently joined 86 other civil liberties groups, Internet activists and authors to sign an open letter to Congress, calling for a congressional investigation committee, similar to the Church Committee of the 1970s. The letter is in response to the recent leaking of highly classified documents about the government’s monitoring of private Internet and telephone communications.
“We hope these efforts will bring more sunshine to the surveillance processes,” said Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association. “The public deserves transparency on these complex issues, and we need to better balance the protection of our civil liberties with the government’s need to investigate and fight terrorism.”
The letter calls on Congress to:
- Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law.
- Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying.
The letter was accompanied by the launch of StopWatching.us, a global petition calling on Congress to provide a public accounting of the government’s domestic spying capabilities and to bring an end to illegal surveillance.