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Deadlock on Section 702 surveillance bills

Legislation to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is due to expire on Dec 31st of this year. Currently three Senate and two House bills areIcon with a eye peering through a keyhole on the table, but the House and Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees are not close to resolving differences. Experts say that the reauthorization deadline likely will be extended by a short-term continuing resolution, pushing the legislation into next year.

The ALA Washington Office continues to support legislation that would advance the privacy protections of the public, such as the USA Rights Act (S. 1997). The Washington Office has joined coalition partners by signing a letter in support of S. 1997 to close the “backdoor search loophole” by requiring that surveillance of Americans only be done with a warrant. While no legislation pending would specifically impact libraries, the right to privacy is central to the ability of individuals to seek and communicate information freely and anonymously, a core value of libraries.

For more information on FISA and existing legislation see the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s “decoding FISA” resources.

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Carrie Russell

Carrie Russell is the director of the Program on Public Access to Information in the Washington Office. Her portfolio includes copyright, international copyright, accessibility, e-books, and other public policy issues. She has an MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MA in media arts from the University of Arizona.

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