ALA disappointed with House passage of FISA


For Immediate Release

June 20, 2008


Andrew Bridges

Communications Director

202-628-8410 ext. 8208

Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Deputy Director

ALA Intellectual Freedom Office


ALA Disappointed with House Passage of FISA

The President of the American Library Association (ALA), Dr. Loriene Roy, expressed disappointment today with the result of the U.S. House of Representatives vote on FISA reform – the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (H.R. 6403).

“There were far better versions of this bill that would more effectively protect our civil liberties from needless and illegal surveillance,” Dr. Roy said. “We have taken a woeful step backwards.”

Dr. Roy added, “Providing retroactive immunity for phone companies continues the Administration's unconstitutional use of private corporations to needlessly spy on Americans. Nor is there evidence that this approach will ensure increased security for the United States. It is truly disappointing that the House failed to listen to Americans and moved forward to pass this troublesome legislation.

“I commit ALA to continue to try to bring common sense to these debates and seek appropriate changes in the future.”

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.