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ALA Disappointed with Senate Passage of FISA

The American Library Association (ALA) expressed disappointment today with the result of the U.S. Senate’s vote on FISA reform — the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6304).

“H.R. 6304 rewrites FISA in a way that expands the executive branch’s spying powers without doing enough to protect the privacy of innocent people whose communications are being monitored,” said Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office.

“Everyone agrees that the government should have the power to protect this country from terrorists, but the government must also protect the privacy of innocent Americans.”

In recent months, ALA has signed on to numerous letters with organizations such as the Center for National Security Studies (CNSS) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) as the various iterations of these bills have proceeded through Congress. Protecting patron privacy and the confidentiality of library records are deep and longstanding principles of librarianship and guide ALA’s legislative activities on privacy, surveillance and other related issues.

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


  1. Fred Rowland Fred Rowland

    Does ALA have a position on the amnesty part of this bill? That’s a huge deal, now we will never know the extent to which the large telecoms broke the law, what precedents were set for government/private sector cooperation on spying, etc. Safeguards on privacy are besides the point if telecoms can break the law and expect retrospective amnesty before they ever even have to go to court. ALA’s vision should be a lot broader. We really have become a full-blown surveillance society. Fred Rowland

  2. We opposed this version of the FISA amendments, in part because of the retrospective amnesty. This sets a terrible precedent for companies to knowingly break the law if a federal agency asks them to…

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