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ALA Disappointed in Passage of FISA Amendments Act

The American Library Association is deeply disappointed that earlier today, the U.S. Senate passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act (S. 2248), without important civil liberties amendments that would have added some privacy protections to the surveillance standards in FISA.

ALA had previously expressed its support for various civil liberties proposals including the significant purpose amendment, the bulk collection amendment, the protecting Americans’ international communications amendment, and other proposals that would have shortened FISA’s sunset period. The Association has long argued that it is possible to balance civil liberties with law enforcement’s ability to aggressively investigate and purse terrorists.

The library community acknowledges the efforts of Senators Feingold, Dodd, Cardin, and others who, with their various amendments, tried to bring reasonable civil liberties standards and protections into the bill.

“S. 2248 is now a highly flawed bill that would continue to allow inappropriate warrantless surveillance and other intrusions into our civil liberties and privacy, especially relating to communicating with those outside of the United States.” said Lynne Bradley, Director of ALA’s Office of Government Relations. “ALA will continue to promote its arguments as the debate moves back to the House of Representatives and subsequent conference negotiations.”

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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