WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the American Library Association (ALA) awarded President Barack Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies the 2014 James Madison Award during the 16th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Review Group received the award for calling for dozens of urgent and practical reforms to the National Security Agency’s unlawful surveillance programs.
“The Review Group’s recommendations are aligned with the American Library Association’s commitment to maintaining public access to government information,” said Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association. “Thanks to the steadfast commitment of this group, practical reforms to the government’s unconstitutional surveillance practices may soon be on the horizon.”
Calling on the government to enhance public trust, the President’s Review Group produced a thoughtful report with a blueprint showing how the government can reaffirm its commitment to privacy and civil liberties—all without compromising national security. In the report, the Review Group emphasized the need for transparency and effective oversight, and made recommendations intended to protect U.S. national security and advance foreign policy. Additionally, the Review Group asked the U.S. government to demonstrate the validity of claims that secrecy is necessary.
Members of the Review Group include Richard Clarke, former national security official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; Michael Morell, former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency; Geoffrey Stone, law professor at the University of Chicago Law School; Cass Sunstein, professor at Harvard University and Peter Swire, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The award, which is named in honor of President James Madison, honors individuals who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know national information. The American Library Association has long been a supporter of open access policies that increase the amount of research made available to the public.
Additionally, the Open Government Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey received the Eileen Cooke Award for improving citizen access to public records and meeting files. The Open Government Project has increased public awareness of government transparency by developing educational materials, offering informational seminars to community organizations, and providing free legal representation to individuals unlawfully denied access to public records or public meetings.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.