Action Needed Now on USA Patriot Act

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the USA PATRIOT ACT is due to sunset this year and we need Congress to make much needed reforms.

The Senate has introduced a bill that does not meet the protections we seek, so we need the House to pass much tougher reforms. The ALA Washington Office reports that there is much opposition to these reforms, including from the White House, the Department of Justice and the House Intelligence Committee, so Congress needs calls NOW from library supporters and others.

PLEASE call Congressman Welch’s office to EXPRESS YOUR SUPPORT for H.R. 3845 introduced by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and ASK CONGRESSMAN WELCH TO CO-SPONSOR this USA Patriot Amendment Act. Call NOW. Bill mark-up is scheduled for November 4.
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VPR Story on Patriot Act

This morning Vermont Public Radio ran a story on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, including the VLA Board’s resolution in support of Senator Leahy’s original markup of the bill and subsequent changes in the Judiciary Committee.  While the story provided good coverage of the issues, it incorrectly stated that the Board had withdrawn its support for Senator Leahy’s version of the bill.  Earlier today I sent the following message to VPR, and they assure me this will be corrected in later broadcasts and online:

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California Library Association thanks VLA

 The following email was received by Gail Weymouth, IFC chair on October 8th.  It is reprinted with permission and the personal name of sender redacted as a privacy courtesy.

Gail Weymouth,

I am writing on behalf of the California Library Association (CLA) Intellectual Freedom Committee to thank the Vermont Library Association for its recent resolution on the USA PATRIOT Act.

CLA was inspired by your efforts to include both the sunsetting provisions and Section 505. We share your concerns and messages to Congress. We were alarmed to find that this week both Sen. Leahy and Sen. Feinstein softened their support for privacy and surveillance reforms.

We want to thank you for the example you have set, and congratulate VLA on its impact on the meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee September 23, 2009.

Based on your example, we have adapted the resolution to reflect the concerns of the California’s library community. Please pass this email on to all those responsible for the resolution. We can let you know when our resolution goes “live.”

Intellectual Freedom Committee, member
California Library Association

VLA Resolution Included in Official Record Of Senate Judiciary Committee.

Senator Patrick Leahy entered the VLA’s Resolution on the 2009 Reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act into the official record  during the September 23, 2009 hearings of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the reauthorizations of the sections scheduled to sunset December 31, 2009.  Following questioning by Senator Franken of Inspector General Fine  about the temptation to use national secuirty letters insead of  going to the FISA Court for Section 215 orders, Senator Leahy submitted the VLA resolution and two other supporting documents that raised the same concerns referring to Inspector Fine’ s documented  example in his  March 2008 report on National Security Letters. 

All 177 + minutes are available for continued viewing via  Webcast  available

VLA Board adopts Resolution on 2009 Patriot Act Resolution

On September 15th, the  VLA Board Meeting unanimously and enthusiastically adopted a Resolution on the 2009 Reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.the following resolution. Unlike a resolution passed by ALA Council in July 2009, VLA’s resolution goes beyond Section 215 and address grave concerns raised by the use and abuse of Section 505, National Security Letters.

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UVM Researcher (Reference Librarian, Trina Magi) Studies Internet Privacy

From the Burlington Free Press article

When a student clicks on a commonly used research Web site such as JSTOR, FirstSearch or WilsonWeb — and they do it as routinely as earlier generations picked up the Reader’s Guide to find magazine articles — they are increasingly under surveillance.

Magi, who researched the issue over the past year, found that many library database “vendors” are evolving in the Web 2.0 social networking milieu of Facebook and My Space by offering personalized features that capture student research patterns or browsing results. That information, which over time can amount to a personal dossier, has commercial value.

Magi’s findings will appear in College and Research Libraries, a professional journal. She has won national awards for publicizing the dangers to library patrons of the 2001 Patriot Act, which allowed federal agents, acting on no more than a hunch, to scrutinize borrowing records looking for suspicious interests and forbade librarians from alerting the targets.

ACLU First Amendment Conference – Registration Deadline 6/23/09

MONTPELIER-“ The First Amendment is being asked to do more as technology transforms the way thoughts and beliefs are expressed, and free speech lines are questioned.

“Thought and Expression in a Changing World”  is the topic of a day-long conference Monday, June 29 in South Burlington sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont.

Speakers will include Catherine Crump, an attorney with the National ACLU’s First Amendment Working Group, and Dan Barrett, staff attorney at the ACLU-VT. Other Vermont attorneys will participate on panels discussing specific cases and incidents, including recent controversies involving broadcast of the Al Jazeera-English channel on a local cable TV system and images placed on locally manufactured snowboards.

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EFF Launches ‘Teaching Copyright’ to Correct Entertainment Industry Misinformation

New Curriculum Gives Students the Facts About Their Digital Rights and Responsibilities

San Francisco – As the entertainment industry promotes its new anti-copying educational program to the nation’s teachers, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched its own “Teaching Copyright” curriculum and website to help educators give students the real story about their digital rights and responsibilities on the Internet and beyond.

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