Free Expression

22 Dec

Reader Privacy Victory Sends Patriot Act Fight Into Overtime

In a major victory for proponents of readers' privacy rights, late Wednesday night, the efforts of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators postponed a final reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act. In a voice vote, the Senate approved a six-month extension of the Patriot Act, a step designed to give Congress time to craft a bill that includes stronger provisions to ensure the privacy of America's readers.

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16 Dec

High Noon in the Senate: Patriot Act Cloture Motion Defeated; Debate to Continue

In a stirring victory for advocates of free speech and readers' privacy rights, just after noon today Sen. Bill Frist's (R-TN) attempt to end debate over the USA Patriot Act reauthorization conference report by passing a motion for cloture was defeated. Forty-seven senators voted against the motion, while 52 senators voted in favor. Supporters of the reauthorization conference report needed 60 votes to pass a motion for cloture and to prevent a filibuster that had been threatened by a bipartisan coalition of senators.

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15 Dec
08 Dec

Patriot Act Critics Look to Send Reauthorization Battle Into Overtime

With the U.S. House of Representatives now back in session and the Senate due back in session on Monday, December 12, the final push to amend the USA Patriot Act to protect reader privacy has moved into its final stages.

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01 Dec

Culmination of Reader Privacy Efforts to Come in Mid-December

With the U.S. House of Representatives adjourned until Tuesday, December 6, and the Senate not reconvening until Monday, December 12, a vote on the USA Patriot Act conference committee draft is expected to come sometime in mid-December. To ensure Congress accepts a Patriot Act bill that protects readers' right to privacy, the sponsors of the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) are asking supporters to be ready for a final big push in the coming weeks. The 16 sunsetting provisions of the Patriot Act, including Section 215, are set to expire on December 31, 2005.

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23 Nov

Delayed Vote Provides Opportunity to Express Support for Senate Version of Patriot Act

As a result of the outcry from free speech advocates and civil liberties groups, on Friday, November 18, Congress postponed a vote on the draft USA Patriot Act conference committee report until after the Thanksgiving recess.

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17 Nov

CRP Calls for 'No' Vote on New Patriot Act Legislation, Urges Supporters to Contact Senators and House Reps

At press time, there remained uncertainty as to the final language and timing of the vote on the U.S. House-Senate conference committee's bill reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act; however, the American Booksellers Association and its co-sponsors in the Campaign for Reader Privacy (CRP) are urging supporters to immediately contact their senators and House representatives to urge them to vote "no" on the report for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.

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10 Nov

Conference Committee Takes Up Patriot Act

Today, a conference committee, composed of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, was meeting to reconcile their different versions of a Patriot Act reauthorization bill. However, some press reports indicate that congressional staff members may have already reached a tentative reconciliation of the two bills.

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09 Nov

Campaign for Reader Privacy Moves Into Final Stages

The grassroots effort to restore the safeguards for reader privacy that were eliminated by the USA Patriot Act is now in its 11th hour. On Wednesday, November 9, leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives announced the names of the House conferees who are to meet with their Senate counterparts to reconcile their different bills reauthorizing the expiring sections of the Patriot Act.

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03 Nov

Second Circuit Court Hears Argument in NSL/Patriot Act Challenge

On Wednesday, November 2, a panel of judges in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City heard two arguments regarding an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenge to the issuance of National Security Letters (NSLs) to a Connecticut Library and New York Internet Service Provider (ISP), which asked each to turn over customer records in regards to terrorist investigations. The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression is among the organizations that have filed amicus briefs in both cases.

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01 Nov

ABFFE Seeks Bookstores to Host Reporters' Talks

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is organizing a series of bookstore programs to educate the public about the importance of confidential sources for a free press. As part of this effort, ABFFE is urging booksellers to open their stores to reporters who want to speak about attempts to force them to reveal their confidential sources.

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27 Oct

Feingold and Sununu Urge Conferees to Support Senate Patriot Act Bill

On Wednesday, Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and John E. Sununu (R-NH) held a press conference to emphasize their support for the Senate version of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent in July. In the coming days, Senate and House conferees will be meeting to reconcile the very different House and Senate versions of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bills.

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18 Oct

ABFFE Seeks Bookseller Input on Banned Books Week

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is asking booksellers to help formulate plans for next year's Banned Books Week celebrations by sharing their experiences this year. ABFFE is seeking photos, display and event ideas, and information about how bookstore customers responded. The information provided will be incorporated in ABFFE's Banned Books Week Online Handbook,, which was produced for the first time this year.

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12 Oct

Patriot Act House Conferee Appointments Remain on Hold

Despite reports last week that the appointment of U.S. House conferees, who will take up USA Patriot Act reauthorization, was imminent, they had still not been chosen when Congress recessed for the Columbus Day and Yom Kippur holidays. Since the House must be in session when the conferees are chosen, they cannot be selected before Congress meets again next week.

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