April 25, 2013
Earlier today, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2013 (ECPA), which updates one of the nation’s most important digital privacy laws to protect the privacy of emails, texts, and other electronic communications. Coauthored by Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the ECPA amendments act would establish a search warrant requirement for the government to obtain the content of Americans’ emails when those communications are stored with a third-party service provider. The bill eliminates the outdated “180-day” rule that calls for different legal standards for the government to obtain email content depending upon the age of an email. The bill would also require the government to notify any individual whose electronic communications have been disclosed within 10 days of obtaining a search warrant.
The Judiciary Committee adopted two amendments to the bill in today’s markup. The first was a technical amendment offered by Chairman Leahy to clarify the rule of construction, and the second an amendment requiring the Comptroller General to conduct a review of the use of the law, offered by Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.
At the same time as the Senate Judiciary markup, the House Judiciary Committee held its own hearing on ECPA, focusing on geolocation privacy and surveillance. ECPA enjoys bipartisan support in both chambers.
AALL applauds this crucial step forward in ECPA reform and as a member of the Digital Due Process coalition, we will continue to advocate for stronger privacy protections for communications in response to changes in technology, while preserving the legal tools necessary for government agencies to enforce the laws, respond to emergency circumstances and protect the public. For more information on AALL’s position on ECPA, see our recent Advocacy One-Pager.
April 24, 2013
We are pleased to announce the 2013 recipients of AALL’s prestigious Robert L. Oakley Advocacy Award (Oakley) and Public Access to Government Information Award (PAGI). Timothy L. Coggins, Associate Dean for Library and Information Services & Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law Library will receive the Oakley Award, and the late Aaron Swartz, internet freedom activist, will receive the PAGI Award at this year’s Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA. The winners were chosen by the Government Relations Committee in consultation with the Awards Committee.
Tim has played a significant role in AALL’s government relations program since its inception and has been an outstanding advocate for the AALL policy agenda through a number of leadership roles. Tim served as chair of the Government Relations Committee (1991-92 and 2005-2006); chair of a special Task Force on Government Relations Activities (1993-94); co-chair of the AALL Working Group on information Technology and Implementation (1996-1998); chair of the Access to Electronic Information Committee (2006-07); chair of the Electronic Legal Information Access & Citation Committee (2010-11); member of the Washington Affairs Office Review Special Committee (2008-09); and is currently a member of the Government Policy Advisory Group (2011-2013). Tim’s service helped to establish a major role for AALL and its members as information experts on government use of technology for authentic and accessible public information.
Aaron, an internet freedom activist, is credited with revolutionizing the way that hundreds of millions of people around the world receive information and interact with their own governments. As a talented programmer and open access advocate, Aaron was most known for his efforts to open access to information locked behind paywalls, including the 2008 download and release of 20 million pages from PACER for free public access. In 2011, he was arrested and indicted with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer after downloaded a large number of academic journal articles from JSTOR through MIT’s computer network. At the time of his death in 2013, Aaron’s prosecution for the crime was pending. Aaron left behind a strong legacy of advocacy for greater public access to government information.
We are pleased to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s remarkable award winners. We hope you’ll join us at the Public Policy Update (B4) at the 2013 Annual Meeting on Sunday, July 14, where both awards will be presented.
April 18, 2013
Later this afternoon, law librarians from Washington, DC and the surrounding area will head to Capitol Hill to meet with their members of Congress as part of AALL’s first-ever Local Advocate Lobby Day. Participants will discuss a number of issues relevant to law librarianship, including funding for the Government Printing Office and Library of Congress, access to government information, and privacy.
You can help to magnify the impact of these meetings and expand AALL’s influence in Congress by participating in our Virtual Lobby Day. Visit our Legislative Action Center to take action on our priority issues. You’ll find sample letters that you can easily customize and send to your members of Congress with a click of a button.
Want more information on our issues? The Government Relations Committee (GRC) recently released a number of new Advocacy One-Pagers on key legislation like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments of 2013, Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, and Library of Congress Funding for Fiscal Year 2014. We’ve also created Lobby Day talking points to help you craft your message.
We hope you will take a few minutes today to advocate for yourself, your profession, and your patrons. Thanks for all that you do to raise the profile of AALL and law librarians everywhere.
April 9, 2013
The Digital Access to Legal Information Committee (DALIC) has created a new website to host information about the status of online legal materials in every state with respect to authentication, official status, preservation, permanent public access, copyright, and universal citation.
The new website brings together information from AALL’s National Inventory of Legal Materials and updates AALL’s Preliminary Analysis of AALL’s State Legal Inventories, 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources, and 2009-2010 State Summary Updates. State pages will be updated as information changes. DALIC members will monitor the site and periodically check in with AALL’s state working groups to ensure the accuracy of the information.
DALIC also welcomes your additions or updates to information about legal materials in your state. If you have information to offer, please fill out our online form. A member of DALIC will contact you to verify the information you provide.
April 5, 2013
Last week, AALL President Jean Wenger submitted written testimony on behalf of AALL, Medical Library Association (MLA), and Special Libraries Association (SLA) to the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Legislative Branch in support of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 appropriations requests of the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Library of Congress (LC). AALL, MLA and SLA urged the subcommittee to fully fund the appropriations requests of GPO and LC.
For Fiscal Year 2014, GPO is asking for a modest 1.2 percent increase above FY 2013 levels so that it can grow its digital systems and make necessary information technology and infrastructure repairs. This request would also enable GPO to continue to support the 200-year-old Federal Depository Library Program.
The Library of Congress plans to ask for an increase in funding only to reflect inflation, which will help ensure the Library is able to maintain mission-critical services. AALL, MLA, and SLA strongly supports several of the Law Library of Congress’s initiatives, including the classification of the remaining approximately 480,000 volumes to Class K Law Classification. The Library of Congress is in urgent need of more storage space for its collection and requires funding for the construction of a new storage facility, known as Modular (Mod) 5 at the Library’s 100 acre campus at Ft. Meade, Maryland. LC also requires sufficient funding to support the vital work of the Copyright Office, which includes the composition of policy studies that aid Congress in legislative deliberations.
The budget battle continues as Congress will return from its two week recess on Monday and must work to reconcile the Senate and Houses’ dramatically different spending plans. President Obama is expected to present his administration’s budget proposal on April 10, two months after the February deadline. Read more in the April issue of our Washington E-Bulletin.
April 1, 2013
The April issue of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available on AALLNET.
IN THIS ISSUE
Vol. 2013, Issue 04
A LOOK AHEAD
AALL IN THE STATES
ROUNDUP AND REVIEW