(WASHINGTON, DC) The following statement is from ALA President Michael Gorman in response to today’s House of Representatives vote on legislation reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act.
“The House of Representatives has joined the Senate in passing a bill that reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act, extending Section 215 of the Act for another four years and adding almost none of the major reforms the library community has striven for since the PATRIOT Act was passed in 2001, hurriedly and without due consideration of Constitutional liberties.
“The American Library Association has been in the forefront of the battle to reform sections of the PATRIOT Act in order to restore privacy protections to the millions of people who rely on America’s libraries. Although most of the moderate, reasonable, and Constitutional reforms we sought were not included in the reauthorization bill, our work on restoring privacy and civil liberties to library users is not over. We will continue to argue for a more stringent standard for Section 215 orders—one that requires the FBI to limit its search of library records to individuals who are connected to a terrorist or suspected of a crime. We will also seek the addition of a provision allowing recipients of Section 215 or 505 orders to pose a meaningful challenge to the “gag” order that prevents them from disclosing the fact that they have received such an order. We are encouraged by Members of Congress’ pledges to introduce legislation that will remedy those sections of the PATRIOT Act that infringe on the civil liberties of library patrons, and we look forward to working with those Senators and Representatives to repair this deeply flawed legislation.
"We extend our thanks to the bipartisan group of Representatives who have tirelessly fought for moderate but essential reforms to the USA PATRIOT Act, including Reps. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Butch Otter (R-ID), John Conyers (D-MI), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), and Ron Paul (R-TX)."