The New York Times Reminds Us the NSA Still Warrantlessly Wiretaps Americans, and Congress Has the Power to Stop It
Last week, the New York Times published two important op-eds highlighting how the National Security Agency (NSA) has retained expansive powers to warrantlessly wiretap Americans after Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act in 2008. And unlike in 2005—when the exposure of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program provoked widespread outrage—Congress is now all but ignoring ample evidence of wrongdoing, as it debates renewing the FISA Amendments Act before it expires at the end of this year.
Intellectual Property Issues
Impatience over lack of action on intellectual property theft
The European Union’s Observatory on Counterfeiting and Piracy is set to be given enhanced enforcement capabilities in order to fight IP infringements. According to The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) the new powers could start to come into effect in March 2013.
However FAST points out that a stronger fight against IP breaches is long overdue.
Overhaul of Federal Record-Keeping Ordered By NARA, Office of Management and Budget
A major overhaul in the way federal departments and agencies manage and preserve their records was ordered today by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
In a directive that carries out a presidential memorandum to reform records management for the 21st century, NARA and OMB said that all agencies must begin to manage their records, including emails, in electronic format by the end of the decade.
The directive also requires each agency to designate a high-ranking agency official to oversee its records management programs and to ensure that all appropriate staff receive records management training.
Wiley joins open access group
John Wiley & Sons has joined the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. OASPA represents the interests of open access journal publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines and enables exchange of information, setting standards, advancing models, advocacy, education, and the promotion of innovation.
In early 2011 Wiley launched Wiley Open Access, an open access journal program, which contains eleven journals. Wiley Open Access provides open access publication in peer-reviewed journals where all published articles are immediately freely available to read, download and share.
The Born Digital in the Archives: One Curator’s Experience
The late Jonathan Larson went through many drafts when composing what became the hit-musical RENT. The tragic end to his life is well known – he died suddenly at age 35 in 1996 shortly before the off-Broadway opening of the musical. What may not be well known is that these early drafts of RENT and other artifacts from Larson’s life and career were hidden for years, existing only on floppy disks and now-obsolete software programs.
Working to solve this digital preservation dilemma became the focus for Doug Reside, Digital Curator of the New York Public Library, along with Mark Horowitz, Senior Music Specialist in the Library of Congress Music Division and curator of the Jonathan Larson collection.
Freedom of Information
Presidential Claims of Executive Privilege: History, Law, Practice, and Recent Developments
Presidential claims of a right to preserve the confidentiality of information and documents in the
face of legislative demands have figured prominently, though intermittently, in executive congressional relations since at least 1792. Few such interbranch disputes over access to information have reached the courts for substantive resolution. The vast majority of these disputes are resolved through political negotiation and accommodation. In fact, it was not until the Watergate-related lawsuits in the 1970′s seeking access to President Nixon’s tapes that the existence of a presidential confidentiality privilege was judicially established as a necessary derivative of the President’s status in our constitutional scheme of separated powers.
There have been only four cases involving information access disputes between Congress and the executive, and two of these resulted in decisions on the merits.
President Obama formally invoked executive privilege for the first time on June 20, 2012, over documents sought by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in its ongoing investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/R42670.pdf (Note: PDF file)
GOP Platform Moves from Light to Dark
As the Republican nominating convention gets into full swing, there has been much discussion about the rightward shift by the party and its platform. But the GOP’s newfound hostility toward disclosure of money in politics does not reflect a move from center to right. It’s a move from light to dark.
The GOP platform adopted yesterday left no question that the party fully embraces unlimited, unregulated, undisclosed money in our elections. "We support repeal of the remaining sections of McCain-Feingold, support either raising or repealing contribution limits, and oppose passage of the DISCLOSE Act or any similar legislation designed to vitiate the Supreme Court’s recent decisions protecting political speech in Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission."
(Court-Ordered) Notice-and-Takedown: the Chilean Approach
In 2010, Chile updated its copyright law with a novel approach for protecting Internet intermediaries from liability for their users’ copyright infringement. Though modeled on the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the law differs in one crucial respect: While a cornerstone of the US law is its private notice-and-takedown system, the Chilean law requires that rightsholders secure a court order before content must be taken down.
Today, CDT released a short report on the Chilean law, examining the balance the law strikes among the rights of copyright-holders, intermediaries, and Internet users. As we explain in the paper, the law offers greater certainty to intermediaries as to when content should be removed, and court oversight may well prevent some of the mistakes we have seen under the US system.
On the other hand, some rightsholders have expressed dissatisfaction with the law, since having to go to court significantly raises the burden on them when requesting takedowns.
Jordanians Protest Internet Censorship Law With SOPA-Style Blackout
The United States, Russia, and Malaysia have all recently protested proposed Internet censorship laws by having websites "go dark," to demonstrate what the web would look like without them. Today Jordanian netizens have launched their own Internet blackout.
More than a hundred and fifty websites have gone dark to protest a draft bill to amend the Press and Publications Law, framed by the government as anti-pornography legislation, but which activists say will restrict Internet freedom and negatively affect the rights of Jordanian citizens.
Librarians are Completely Awesome
Here’s the thing about librarians: they are the only people I know who are incredibly excited TO DO YOUR WORK FOR YOU. As online resources become more complex, we need wise humans to help act as guides. Librarians know how to do that better than you do. Ask them for help. They also, typically, are warm, curious, helpful people.
For any doctoral students out there thinking of starting a new research project, I strongly encourage you to make your university reference librarian your first stop. I’ve had great luck with municipal librarians and with government archivists as well.
It takes a village to raise a research project.
Please feel free to pass along in part or in its entirety.
The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association.