America’s libraries to push for passage of USA Freedom Act

For Immediate Release
Thu, 11/13/2014

Contact:

Jazzy Wright

Press Officer

Washington Office

202-628-8410

jwright@alawash.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, American Library Association (ALA) President-elect Sari Feldman released the following statement responding to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) action to advance the USA Freedom Act, a bill that will improve the balance between terrorism prevention and personal privacy protection:

"The current Congress has the opportunity to prove to the American people that their freedom from broad surveillance by their own government matters more than political posturing.  Libraries have been fighting for USA PATRIOT Act reform for 13 years. It’s time, way past time, to finally vote on and pass Senator Patrick Leahy’s bipartisan, intelligence community-backed USA Freedom Act without weakening its already modest protections for the public. ALA is calling on every librarian and library supporter in America to send that message loudly and clearly to every Member of Congress."

The USA FREEDOM Act would effectively end the government’s bulk collection of phone and internet call records, permit phone and internet companies to more meaningfully disclose the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders and National Security Letters they receive, and allow “special advocates” to appear before the secret FISA court in key cases to defend the public’s interests and civil liberties. The legislation would amend Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which is often called the “library provision” because of the government’s reliance upon it to seek disclosure of library patrons’ reading and internet surfing records.

Congress is expected to take additional action on the USA Freedom Act next week.

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 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.