In activism, information policy, intellectual freedom on October 29, 2009 at 11:18 am
A coalition of 20 civil liberties organizations, including the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), released a letter today endorsing the USA Patriot Amendments Act (H.R. 3845) and pointing out the failures of the Senate’s PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act (S. 1692). As their names suggest, the Amendments Act proposes reforms to the expiring sections of the USAPA, while the Extension Act pretty much extends the USAPA provisions with very few promising changes. The next review will be in 2013.
CDT compiled this very helpful chart that compares the two bills to the current law. Check out the difference on gag orders (p. 2 and 4) and on Section 215 orders that would capture personal info from a library or bookseller (p. 3). Also note that H.R. 3845 places limits on roving wiretaps, and proposes the “lone wolf” provision be allowed to expire.
Today, the American Library Association (ALA) endorsed the ACLU’s call to action and expressed its support for the House reform bills as well. The ALA alert includes background info and talking points.
H.R. 3845 and 3846 will be “marked up” next Wednesday, Nov. 4. That means now’s the time to contact your reps. Yes, especially if you want to push this debate even further around issues of immigrant rights and profiling. Remember it was during the Senate mark-up period earlier this month that Sens. Feinstein and Leahy abandoned their commitment to curb dragnets against individuals, communities and human rights orgs. Some California Reps., like Dem. Jane Harman, are already supporting this legislation. Can’t hurt to remind her.
What else can you do? Write letters to the editor. Get FISA Right posted some templates to get you started.
View full Center for Democracy & Technology post.
In intellectual freedom, privacy, public policy, Uncategorized on October 9, 2009 at 5:23 am
Unfortunate news. Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary voted to extend expiring PATRIOT Act sections for another four years. The vote was 11-8 with California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as expected, among the majority in favor of prolonging the FBI’s expanded powers. I have it on good authority that Feinstein does not want to be “hounded by librarians.” This is second-hand, but let’s consider that a compliment!
The issue is now on to the Senate floor, making public and organizational pressure even more important. Let’s increase the hounding!
Judiciary Panel Approves Patriot Act Sections
New York Times, The Caucus, by Charlie Savage
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation to reauthorize three sections of the so-called Patriot Act that are set to expire at the end of the year, after largely rejecting a series of proposed changes to surveillance laws sought by civil liberties and privacy advocates.
By a vote of 11 to 8, the committee sent the legislation on to the Senate floor. The bill would extend provisions that expanded the power of the F.B.I. to seize records and to eavesdrop on phone calls and e-mails in the course of counterterrorism investigations. [continue reading]
Obama Sides with Republicans; PATRIOT Act Renewal Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee Minus Critical Civil Liberties Reforms
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Deeplinks
…the Committee this morning voted to accept seven Republican amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act to remove the few civil liberties protections left in the bill after it was already watered down at last Thursday’s Committee meeting. Surprisingly and disappointingly, most of those amendments were recommended to their Republican sponsors by the Obama Administration. [read full article]