The Department of Homeland Security is increasingly demanding without cause that non-citizens attempting to lawfully enter the U.S. provide border officials with their electronic devices and the passwords to their private social media accounts. Today, ALA is pleased to join 50 other national public interest organizations – and nearly 90 academic security, technology and legal experts in the US and abroad – in a statement condemning these activities and the policy underlying them.
Linked below, the statement calls the policy (first articulated by DHS Secretary John Kelly at a February 7 congressional hearing) a “direct assault on fundamental human rights.” It goes on to warn that the practice also will violate the privacy of millions of U.S. citizens and persons in their social networks and will encourage the governments of other nations to retaliate against Americans in kind.
For the statement’s signators, the literal bottom line is: “The first rule of online security is simple: do not share your passwords. No government agency should undermine security, privacy, and other rights with a blanket policy of demanding passwords from individuals.”
Click here to read the full statement.
Tech, advocacy groups slam DHS call to demand foreign traveler’s passwords
By Ali Breland Feb 21, 17
Electronic Media Searches at Border Crossings Raise Worry
By The Associated Press Feb. 18, 2017
What Are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone?
By Daniel Victor Feb. 14, 2017
‘Give Us Your Passwords’
The Atlantic by Kaveh Waddell Feb 10, 2017
ALA – as part of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) – submitted a second round of comments in the Copyright Office’s study on the effectiveness of the notice and takedown provisions of Section 512. In its comments, LCA argues that the effectiveness of federal policies to improve access to information and enhance education (such as the National Broadband Plan adopted by the FCC in 2010, ConnectEd and the expansion of the E-rate program) would have been seriously compromised without Section 512. Accordingly, LCA again opposes changes to Section 512 not required by the DMCA and which could upset the present balance that the statute attempts to strike between the protection of copyrighted information and its necessary free flow and access over the internet.
Last year the U.S. Copyright Office initiated separate inquiries into several aspects of copyright law relevant to libraries, their users and the public in general. One such important proceeding asked for comment on the part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that provides internet service providers (ISPs) and others with a “safe harbor” from secondary copyright liability if they comply with a process that’s become known as “notice and takedown.”
Specifically, Section 512 protects online service providers from liability for the infringing actions of others who use online networks. Libraries are included in this safe harbor because they offer broadband and open access computing to the public. Because of the safe harbor, libraries have been able to provide broadband services to millions of people without the fear of being sued for onerous damages because of infringing user activity.
The Copyright Office has not yet announced a timeline for publication of its findings or recommendations regarding Section 512.
The post Changes to copyright liability calculus counterproductive appeared first on District Dispatch.
The American Library Association (ALA), as a member of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), joined amicus briefs on Monday in support of two landmark copyright cases on appeal.
The first (pdf) is the Georgia State University (GSU) case—yes, that one— arguing that GSU’s e-reserves service is a fair use. The initial complaint was brought back in 2008 by three academic publishers and has been bankrolled by the Copyright Clearance Center and the American Association of Publishers ever since.
Appeals and multiple requests for injunction from the publishers have kept this case alive for eight years. (The long history of the ins and outs of these proceedings can be found here, and the briefs filed by the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) can be found here.) Most recently, in March 2016, a federal appeals court ruled in GSU’s favor and many thought that would be the end of the story. The publishers appealed again, however, demanding in part that the court conduct a complicated market effect analysis and reverse its earlier ruling.
- First, they note that that GSU’s e-reserve service is a fair use of copyrighted material purchased by its library, underscoring that the service was modeled on a broad consensus of best practices among academic libraries.
- Second, and more technically, the brief explains why the district court should have considered the goals of faculty and researchers who wrote most the works involved to disseminate works broadly as a characteristic of the “nature of the use” factor of fair use.
- Third, and finally, the brief addresses the fourth factor of the statutory fair use test: the effect of the material’s use on the market for the copyrighted work.
Libraries and EFF note that the content loaned by GSU through its e-reserve service is produced by faculty compensated with state funds. Accordingly, they contend, “A ruling against fair use in this case will create a net loss to the public by suppressing educational uses, diverting scarce resources away from valuable educational investments, or both. This loss will not be balanced by any new incentive for creative activity.”
The second amicus brief just filed by ALA and its LCA allies, another defense of fair use, was prepared and filed in conjunction with the Internet Archive on behalf of ReDigi in its ongoing litigation with Capitol Records. ReDigi is an online business that provides a cloud storage service capable of identifying lawfully acquired music files. Through ReDigi, the owner of the music file can electronically distribute it to another person. When they do, however, the ReDigi service is built to automatically and reliably delete the sender’s original copy. ReDigi originally maintained that this “one copy, one user” model and its service should have been considered legal under the “first sale doctrine” in U.S. copyright law. That’s the statutory provision which allows libraries to lend copies that they’ve lawfully acquired or any individual to, for example, buy a book or DVD and then resell or give it away. Written long before materials became digital, however, that part of the Copyright Act refers only to tangible (rather than electronic) materials. The Court thus originally rejected ReDigi’s first sale doctrine defense.
In their new amicus brief on ReDigi’s appeal, LCA revives and refines an argument that it first made way back in 2000 when ReDigi’s automatic delete-on-transfer technology did not exist. Namely, that digital first sale would foster more innovative library services and, for that and other reasons, should be viewed as a fair use that is appropriate in some circumstances.
With the boundaries of fair use or first sale unlikely to be productively changed in Congress, ALA and its library and other partners will continue to participate in potentially watershed judicial proceedings like these.
Librarians across the field have always been dedicated to combating misinformation. TBT to 1987, when the ALA Council passed the “Resolution on Misinformation to Citizens” on July 1 in San Francisco, California. (The resolution is also accessible via the American Library Association Institutional Repository here.)
In response to the recent dialogue on fake news and news literacy, the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee crafted the “Resolution on Access to Accurate Information,” adopted by Council on January 24.
Librarians have always helped people sort reliable sources from unreliable ones. Here are a few resources to explore:
- IFLA’s post on “Alternative Facts and Fake News – Verifiability in the Information Society”
- Indiana University East Campus Library’s LibGuide, “Fake News: Resources”
- Drexel University Libraries’ LibGuide, “Fake News: Source Evaluation”
- Harvard Library’s LibGuide, “Fake News, Misinformation, and Propaganda”
- ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom’s “Intellectual Freedom News,” a free biweekly compilation of news related to (among other things!) privacy, internet filtering and censorship.
- This Texas Standard article on the “CRAAP” (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy & Purpose) test.
If you are working on or have encountered notable “fake news” LibGuides, please post links in the comments below!
The post Look back, move forward: librarians combating misinformation appeared first on District Dispatch.
While we anticipated the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would take a look at its Universal Service Fund (USF) programs once Chairman Pai was in place, we did not anticipate the speed at which moves to review and evaluate previous actions would occur. After the Commission retracted the “E-rate Modernization Report,” our E-rate ears have been itching with concern that our bread and butter USF program would attract undue attention. We did not have long to wait.
Last week, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly sent a letter (pdf) to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) seeking detailed information on libraries and schools that applied in 2016 for E-rate funding for dark fiber and self-provisioned fiber. Our main concern is that the tenor of the Commissioner’s inquiries calls into question the need for these fiber applications. The FCC’s December 2014 E-rate Modernization Order allowed libraries and schools to apply for E-rate on self-construction costs for dark fiber and applicant owned fiber. Allowing E-rate eligibility of self-construction costs “levels the playing field” with the more typical leased fiber service offered by a third party, like a local telecommunications carrier. Because we know from our members that availability of high-capacity broadband at reasonable costs continues to be a significant barrier for libraries that want to increase broadband capacity of their libraries, ALA advocated for this change in several filings with the FCC.
We find Commissioner O’Rielly’s concern about overbuilding to be misplaced. The real issue is getting the best broadband service at the lowest cost, thus ensuring the most prudent use of limited E-rate and local funds. As we explained in our September 2013 comments (pdf) filed in response to then Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn’s opening of the E-rate modernization proceeding, “It is not a good stewardship of E-rate funds (or local library funds) to pay more for leasing a circuit when ownership is less expensive.”
To help ensure that applicants get the lowest cost for their fiber service the FCC already has in-place detailed E-rate bidding regulations that require cost be the most important factor when evaluating bids from providers. As the Commission stated in its December 2014 E-rate Modernization Order (pdf), incumbent providers “Are free to offer dark-fiber service themselves, or to price their lit-fiber service at competitive rates to keep or win business – but if they choose not to do so, it is market forces and their own decisions, not the E-rate rules” that preclude their ability to compete with a self-construction option. The Commission’s reforms to allow self-construction costs for dark fiber and applicant owned fiber were correct in 2014 and remain so. In addition, applicants will evaluate and select the best, most cost effective fiber option for their library or school.
If the last few weeks are any indication of activity at the FCC, we’re in for a busy spring.
The post Concerns about FCC E-rate letter on fiber broadband deployment appeared first on District Dispatch.
Blogging about Congress and legislation can sometimes be, well, a little challenging. How to make it exciting, engaging . . . or at least interesting to a non- policy wonk audience? Then there are those happy times when we here at District Dispatch just can’t improve on the original. This week, was one of those times. Reps.
Blake Farenthold (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO) have teamed up for the third Congress in a row to re- re-introduce their signature bill. This key copyright legislation will assure that when consumers in the age of the Internet of Things buy devices with built-in software – everything from cars, to tractors to toasters – they won’t have to get permission from the owner of that software to sell or give away the device in which it’s embedded. The bill’s called . . . wait for it . . . the You Own Devices Act (yup, “YODA”) and on Rep. Farenthold’s own press release, improve we cannot:
Congressman Farenthold, Polis reintroduce YODA Act
Improve copyright system, YODA would
WASHINGTON, February 7, 2017 | Elizabeth Peace (202-225-7742) | 0 comments
Today, introduced was You Own Devices Act (YODA), by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). In 2015, was when the pair introduced the legislation together.
Allowing essential software to travel with physical devices, like computers, YODA will do. By modernizing copyright law in this way, a consumer can sell, lease or give away a computer, as well as the licenses for essential software that allows the computer to operate, it will.
“The YODA bill, today, I did file,” said Congressman Farenthold. “YODA simply states that your device belongs to you. If you wish to sell that device, the software that enables it to work is transferred along with it, and that any right you have to security and bug fixing of that software is transferred as well.”
“Old copyright laws stifle innovation and block consumers from being able to access more affordable products and technology,” said Congressman Polis. “YODA will cut red tape and allow people to sell or give away devices without being strangled by paperwork and empty legal threats.”
Last session, waylaid in committee YODA was.
Yes, this is a weird title — but I was involved in several activities from the last couple of weeks that I wanted to communicate. One or two of these could each merit a full post themselves. Given Midwinter and the frenetic pace of Washington at the moment, I did not get around to it, unfortunately. So, here is the anthology as of late.
First, the U.S. State Department released the Open Licensing Playbook, a tool for federal agencies and others that want to develop grant-supported open licensing projects, especially for educational purposes. The Playbook was developed by the Global Education Subcommittee (of which I was a member) of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a reception for the participants of the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program. The Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services established the NDSR program to provide hands-on experience to complement graduate education. I met participants from a broad range of institutions such as the Chicago Botanical Garden, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, and the World Bank. The participants spend a full year in residency and I was impressed with their intellectual capability and enthusiasm. I learned a lot about this leading-edge digital preservation program and had the opportunity to relay a bit about ALA’s work in Washington on behalf of the nation’s libraries.
On the topic of fellows, I spent some time at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) serving on a selection committee for one of their many fellows programs. I can’t provide details, but merely suggest it to characterize another dimension of the kinds of engagement here in Washington.
I conclude this post with a commentary on our recent visit to Cobb County Public Library system (CCPLS). You have have seen our earlier post about this visit, focusing on CCPLS’s coding and computational thinking programming. To add to that summary of their good work, I would like to acknowledge how essential these visits are for us in Washington. They help us to retain a continuing tie to the profession and ensure that our advocacy at the national level is in sync with the needs and directions of library communities across the country. Reading articles and collaborating with committee members help, but there is nothing like seeing libraries in person and talking with staff on-site.
And we saw a lot! Always instructive for me is the enormous range that a system must manage, from the central library with its array of services, to a small branch library. CCPLS has new programming that uses virtual reality technology as well as offering basic bread-and-butter services such as job search and literacy. Putting my political hat back on, I also admit that it is especially useful to know more about Georgia libraries at this point in time, as a number of prominent Georgians are headed for leading roles in the government. For example, Rep. Tom Price, who represents Cobb County, is the nominee to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
I am really grateful to both library director Helen Poyer and branch manager (and long time OITPer) Pat Ball for arranging this visit for us.
See? All good news from the swamp.
Congratulations library advocates! For the second time in just over 9 months, the US House of Representatives last night passed the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387 in this Congress) by voice vote. Propelled by more than 1,100 library supporters, the bill now moves to the Senate where the timing of its consideration – and ultimate fate – are not yet clear.
As previously discussed in DD, the bill’s primary purpose and benefit is to finally update the anachronistic Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). This would to require law enforcement authorities to obtain a judicial search warrant based on probable cause in order to obtain the actual content of an individual’s email, texts, tweets, cloud-stored files and photos or other electronic information. Under ECPA as still written, no such warrant typically is required for electronic communications older than six months. (This ACLU infographic lays out the problem well.)
Next month will mark the 6th anniversary of ALA’s charter membership in the Digital Due Process coalition, formed to harness the grassroots and Washington muscle of many organizations and companies in the service of ECPA reform. With just one Senate vote between us and that goal, we’re not about to let up now. Please stay tuned for yet another action alert, this time focused on the Senate, once we and our partners know more about when that will have the best chance of putting the Email Privacy Act on the President’s desk.
An archived copy of the CopyTalk webinar “Open Access ‘Pirates:’ Sci-Hub and #icanhazpdf as Resource Sharing” is now available. Originally webcasted on February 2, 2017, by the Office for Information Technology Policy’s Copyright Education subcommittee, this webinar was one our most popular CopyTalk of all time.
Presenters were Carolyn Caffrey Gardner from California State University Dominguez Hills and Gabriel J. Gardner from California State University Long Beach. They showed their latest research on who uses Sci-Hub or other guerrilla fulfillment sites and why. In addition, they describe the various ways people use and build guerrilla sites, both centralized (active and planned deployment) and decentralized (crowd-sourcing). Is this just a supply and demand issue, or is something else afoot?
Plan ahead! One hour CopyTalk webinars occur on the first Thursday of every month, 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern. Live stream: ala.adobeconnect.com/copytalk
The post Archived webinar on Sci-Hub and resource sharing now available appeared first on District Dispatch.
Last Friday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai rescinded close to a dozen policies of the FCC, including rulemakings on expanding the program providing Internet service to low income households, rulings on several TV stations’ violations of political file rules and further restricting TV shared services and joint sales agreements. Chairman Pai also announced the end of the Commission’s probe into the controversial wireless “zero rating” data plans.
The American Library Association has been a proud partner in initiatives to support broadband opportunity and access to information, including the expansion of the Lifeline program. We also have supported many policies that improve equity and access to information the Chairman unilaterally rescinded on Friday. We believe these moves will make the digital divide wider and are troubled by the direction this Chairman appears to be heading with “Friday news dumps” that give little to no time for discussion or dissent. Please see below for a statement from ALA President Julie Todaro on Friday’s alarming moves by the FCC:
On February 3, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked all of the designations of Lifeline Broadband Providers and ordered the retraction of multiple reports, including the “E-rate Modernization Progress Report” and “Improving the Nation’s Digital Infrastructure.”
The American Library Association (ALA) is dismayed by these actions to reduce digital opportunity and revise the public record. ALA President Julie Todaro released the following statement.
“The American Library Association (ALA) strenuously objects to recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). First, the ALA is alarmed by the sudden revocation of the nine Lifeline Broadband Provider designations. Reducing options for Lifeline broadband services is a step back in efforts to close the homework gap and digital divide, and is at odds with Chairman Pai’s stated desire to advance digital empowerment. The 2016 Lifeline modernization order represented a critical milestone in our national commitment to connect low-income Americans to the broadband that powers educational and economic opportunity. ALA and our nation’s 120,000 libraries are committed to advancing digital opportunity for all, and we urge the FCC to increase the number of broadband options available for Lifeline customers.
“The ALA also calls for the FCC to maintain an accurate and complete historical record. While new FCC leadership may have new policy directions, the public record should not be permanently altered. Governmental agencies must be accountable in this regard. We urge the reversal of the retraction decisions and an agreement that the FCC will not order the removal of any other documents from the public record. Such actions undermine the credibility of the FCC and Chairman Pai’s recent move to increase transparency of the Commission’s rulemaking.
“Full and public debate with the accompanying historical record preserved on these foundational internet issues that affect every person in this country should be the standard we expect and demand.”
As reported in District Dispatch less than a month ago, ALA President Julie Todaro called on both Chambers of Congress to immediately pass H.R. 387, the Email Privacy Act. This critical and long overdue legislation had just been reintroduced after unanimously passing the House last year before stalling in the Senate. If approved in the current Congress, the bill finally will extend full 4th Amendment privacy protection to all Americans’ emails, texts, tweets, cloud-stored photos and files, and other electronic communications. Now is the time to start making that a reality.
On Monday, February 6, the entire House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 387 using a special procedure that will protect it from amendments and expedite the process. That procedure (known as a suspension of the rules) also requires that it receive support from two-thirds of the Representatives voting, not as a simple majority. The bill should have no trouble clearing that hurdle. Given how many Members of Congress and their staffs are brand new—and how important this vote is—we cannot afford to sit back and watch.
No matter where you live, now is the time to bring the 4th Amendment fully into the 21st century by calling, emailing, and/or texting your Member of Congress through the ALA Action Center.
Help us send the Email Privacy Act to the Senate with another unanimous vote in the House. With the crucial vote on H.R. 387 set for Monday, we have no time to lose. Contact your Representative now.
Coalition Letter to Chairman and Ranking Member of House Judiciary Committee urging support of HR 387, the Email privacy Act, to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of January 30, 2017
The call for participation in OITP’s Ready to Code Phase II (RtC) is open now. In partnership with the University of Maryland’s iSchool and with support from Google, Inc., we are seeking full-time faculty members of ALA accredited graduate schools of Library and Information Science or graduate schools that provide school library certification programs in the U.S. to become RtC Faculty Fellows. LIS faculty applicants must be teaching technology/media course(s) in Fall 2017 tailored for pre-service library staff planning on working with children and teens.
Ready to Code Phase II: Embedding RtC Concepts in Library and Information Science Curricula, builds on one of the recommendations from the recently released Ready to Code: Connecting Youth to CS Opportunity through Libraries (pdf). Findings from Phase I highlight the need for pre-service librarians to have access to courses that prepare them with skills to design and implement youth learning programs infused with RtC core concepts (pdf). These concepts are integral to ensuring library programs provide youth with opportunity to develop computational thinking skills while inspiring them to explore the intersection of coding and computer science with their personal interests and passions. A cohort of RtC Faculty Fellows will work with the project team to address this challenge throughout 2017.
RtC Faculty Fellows will work with the RtC Phase II project team to develop, revise and pilot technology and media curricula that infuses existing courses with content and learning experiences grounded in RtC concepts. The resulting curricula will challenge future librarians working with children and teens to develop requisite teaching skills and pedagogical expertise to engage with children and teens through programs and experiences that foster computational thinking.
The RtC project team held a virtual information session last week, but if you missed it, the recording and slides (pdf) are now available. The application period closes February 28, 2017. More information, including the application, is available on the Libraries Ready to Code website.
The post Call for applications: Ready to Code Faculty Fellows appeared first on District Dispatch.
Crowdsourced research sharing takes place across social media platforms including Twitter hashtags such as #icanhazpdf, Reddit Scholar, and Facebook. This study surveys users of these peer-to-peer exchanges on demographic information, frequency of use, and their motivations in both providing and obtaining scholarly information on these platforms. Respondents also provided their perspectives on the database terms of service and/or copyright violations in these exchanges. Findings indicate that the motivations of this community are utilitarian or ideological in nature, similar to other peer-to-peer file sharing online. Implications for library services including instruction, outreach, and interlibrary loan are discussed.
This article presents the results of a faculty survey conducted at the University of Vermont during academic year 2014–2015. The survey asked faculty about: familiarity with scholarly metrics, metric-seeking habits, help-seeking habits, and the role of metrics in their department’s tenure and promotion process. The survey also gathered faculty opinions on how well scholarly metrics reflect the importance of scholarly work and how faculty feel about administrators gathering institutional scholarly metric information. Results point to the necessity of understanding the campus landscape of faculty knowledge, opinion, importance, and use of scholarly metrics before engaging faculty in further discussions about quantifying the impact of their scholarly work.