NSA surveillance examined by all 3 branches

U.S. Capitol.

U.S. Captiol by Jeffrey via flickr.

Reforms to the National Security Agency’s massive unconstitutional surveillance program may soon be underway. For the first time ever, the surveillance reform debate can be enjoined in all branches of government.

“The District Court ruling is the first time that a court or government agency has questioned the constitutionality of the surveillance program since news of the NSA phone collecting program leaked in June,” said American Library Association President Barbara Stripling. “While we applaud the Court’s ruling that the program is unconstitutional, we know that more work needs to be done. We continue to encourage library supporters to support the USA Freedom Act.”

Executive Branch

Late this afternoon, President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies released a report calling for transparency, online security tools, and organizational reforms to the NSA.

Legislative Branch

Today, the American Library Association joined more than 50 businesses, civil liberties groups and public interest organizations in opposing the FISA Improvements Act, a bill that seeks to legalize and extend NSA mass surveillance programs. Opposers to the bill include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, PEN American Center, TechFreedom, and others.

Judicial Branch

D.C. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices on millions of unsuspecting Americans may be unconstitutional. In the ruling, D.C. District Court Judge Leon found the surveillance practices to be an “indiscriminate” and “arbitrary invasion” of personal data on Americans. In addition to finding that the program violates First and Fourth Amendments guaranteed by the Constitution, Judge Leon also examined the ineffectiveness of the NSA program in preventing terrorism.

The American Library Association”•an organization dedicated to protecting civil liberties including First amendment and privacy rights”•has called for more government transparency and public accountability.

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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