ALA re: NSA – Gravely Concerned…But Not Surprised

–On the American Library Association’s morning twitter-feed (6/7/2013) – “‘Profound Questions About Privacy’ Follow Latest Revelations” (NPR)

Ya know…

I was just about to Google search for: “Digital Bill of Rights…” And I paused…wondering, just who, if anyone, might find such innocent inquiries to be conspicuous… With such disconcerting headlines roiling over across the internet:  Leaked document shows massive scale of U.S. phone records monitoring… reporting: “…program used by the NSA and FBI that scours the nation’s main Internet companies…Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple…Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Apple said in statements that they do not provide the government with direct access to their records…” (AP Wire – from Detroit News).

It turns out, though, that various writers, civil-liberty proponents, organizations and bloggers have already suggested (or demanded) such a document, some of them already drafting preambles and fleshed out articles aiming to assure the liberty of our avatars.

I’m not the first to posit this… In fact, Libraries had to go out of their way to protect the privacy of their patrons, more than 5 years ago – with the American Library Association’s resolution to “…assure the Right to Read Free of Government Surveillance…”  – “…the freedom of thought is the most basic of all freedoms and is inextricably linked to freedom of inquiry; and freedom of inquiry can be preserved only in a society in which privacy rights are rigorously protected… …the American Library Association condemns the use of National Security Letters to obtain library records; and, be it further…” (ALA 2007).

(Read more from the ACLU on Libraries’ 2005 challenge to the “National Security Letter provision of the Patriot Act…”)

At issue is the FBI and National Security Agency’s ability to respond to threats (specifically, from terrorist entities – “…not specifically backed by a foreign government…” -as stated in the 2007 amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act).

“…Internet traffic is are being closely monitored by Silicon Valley Internet giants in a massive data-snooping agreement…” – USA TODAY –

Is it domestic spying? Huffington Post: Whistleblowers Claim Vindication On Surveillance State Warnings

Is it liberty vs. security? Can anything we Tweet be used against us? But, we never could have known…

The problem is that before We The Bloggers could print out our Digital Bill of Rights, Congress had already passed legislation authorizing this type of surveillance. (Washington Times: “Surveillance authorization expanded after Sept. 11 attack”)

ALA News

ALA calls for accountability and transparency in nation’s surveillance laws

Profound questions, indeed…

“The library community welcomes a renewed public debate on how to balance the need to fight terrorism and the need to protect personal privacy and civil liberties,” said ALA President Maureen Sullivan.”

I’m not here to stand atop a soap box or be a digital-rights scaremonger. I’m just here to encourage debate, just like the ALA. And, to remind you that if you would like to learn more, there’s a place you can go that’s likely more reliable than Wikipedia (and won’t require you to enter anything into a Google search…)… The Reference Desk of your local Librarian. We’re open… Come on in…

Some of the latest: Washington Is Trapped in Its Own Prism of Data-Mining Self-Defense – from The Atlantic…

Meanwhile, to close on a more lightening note… The Atlantic also proved that there’s more Libraries and Museums in the country than Starbucks…
library and museum map

Every Library and Museum in America, Mapped

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