Keep the Freedom Act momentum going

Library supporters: Tell Congress to support the USA Freedom Act. Ask your U.S. representative and senators to cosponsor this important legislation.

In a joint letter (pdf) to Congress, the American Library Association joined national civil liberties groups, trade associations and companies in supporting the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would bring more transparency and oversight to government surveillance programs. Other letter USA Freedom Act supporters include the American Civil Liberties Union, tumblr, Human Rights Watch and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression.

The letter states:

We the undersigned civil society groups, trade associations, companies and investors are supporters of the free and open Internet. We are writing to urge that intelligence surveillance practices be reformed by limiting the scope of surveillance and by substantially enhancing the privacy protections, oversight, and accountability mechanisms that govern that surveillance.

Recent disclosures regarding intelligence surveillance activity raise important concerns about the privacy and security of communications. This surveillance has already eroded trust that is essential to the free flow of information and to the exercise of human rights and civil liberties both in the United States and around the world.

To rebuild trust, we urge that the U.S. government act expeditiously to:

  • allow companies to be much more transparent about the number and type of surveillance
  • demands they receive;
  • be much more transparent itself about the surveillance demands it makes, the surveillance
  • activities in which it engages, and the legal bases for both;
  • focus intelligence collection on terrorists, spies and other agents of foreign powers, rather than on
  • everyone else; and
  •  ensure that its surveillance practices honor both Constitutional and human rights.

Toward this end, we welcome introduction in the House and Senate of the USA FREEDOM Act—legislation which promotes these goals. We oppose legislation that codifies sweeping bulk collection activities. We look forward to working with you on the USA FREEDOM Act and other legislation designed to protect the privacy of Internet users while permitting appropriately targeted intelligence surveillance necessary to protect against terrorism.

Ask your U.S. representative and senators to cosponsor this important legislation.

Jazzy Wright is the Press Officer of the American Library Association's Washington Office. Email her at jwright@alawash.org.

Posted in Legislation, Library Advocacy, OGR, Privacy & Surveillance Tagged with: , , ,
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