A Message to ALA Members from ALA President Barbara Stripling
In early June, reports of the National Security Agency’s secret practices rang loudly around the world. News reports detailed PRISM, the U.S. government surveillance program that obtains the Internet records from ten U.S. companies: Verizon, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. It appears that phone records, emails, photos, and social networking activities have been collected and catalogued by the FBI and the NSA over the last seven years.
ALA is saddened by recent news that the government has obtained vast amounts of personal information and electronic communications of millions of innocent people. The extent of the personal information received by the government is very troubling. Those of you who have been long-time members of ALA know that we have always argued that provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act encroach on the privacy expectations of library users. Worse, the surveillance law erodes our basic First Amendment rights, all while undermining the very fabric of our democracy.