Whereas, public access to information by and about the government is essential for the healthy functioning of a democratic society and a necessary predicate for an informed and engaged citizenry empowered to hold the government accountable for its actions; and

Whereas, the Montana Library Association (MLA) supports policies of the American Library Association (ALA) pertaining to the right to privacy, including but not limited to the ALA Code of Ethics (1939), Principles for the Networked World (2002), and Privacy: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (2002); and

Whereas, the rights of anonymity and privacy while people retrieve and communicate information must be protected as an essential element of intellectual freedom; and

Whereas, the Montana State Constitution section 10 and 11 afford the citizens of Montana the right to privacy and the right from unreasonable searches and seizures; and

Whereas, MLA values access to documents disclosing the extent of public surveillance and government secrecy as access to these documents now enables the critical public discourse and debate needed to address the balance between our civil liberties and national security; and

Whereas, these disclosures enable libraries to support such discourse and debate by providing information and resources and for deliberative dialogue and community engagement; and

Whereas, The Montana Library Association remains concerned about due process for the people who have led us to these revelations; and

Whereas, libraries are essential to the free flow of ideas and to ensuring the public’s right to know; and

Whereas, for over a decade librarians and library workers in Montana and across the nation have criticized the USA PATRIOT Act on the grounds that it increases the likelihood that the activities of library users, including their use of computers to browse the Web or access e-mail, may be under government surveillance without their knowledge or consent; and

Whereas, the public recently learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone call metadata of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon Business Services, AT&T, and Sprint pursuant to an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act; and

Whereas, pursuant to a court order issued by the FISC under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) the NSA is operating a program called PRISM that is collecting and retaining vast quantities of data on internet usage, including internet search histories, email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats, file transfers, and social networking details, from internet service providers in the United States.  Though intended to target communications of foreign persons, the NSA admits that it collects and stores Internet data from U.S. persons; now, therefore be it

Resolved, that the Montana Library Association:

Affirms its unwavering support for the fundamental principles that are the foundation of our free and democratic society, including a system of public accountability, government transparency, and oversight that supports people’s right to know about and participate in our government;

Calls upon the U.S. Congress, the President, and the Courts to reform our nation’s climate of secrecy, overclassification, and secret law regarding national security and surveillance, to align with these democratic principles;

Urges the U.S. Congress and the President to provide authentic protections that prevent government intimidation and criminal prosecution of government employees, private contractors and journalists who make disclosures of wrong doing in the intelligence community;

Calls upon our members to lead and the public to engage in public dialogues discussing the right to privacy, open government and balancing civil liberties and national security;

Encourages the public to support bills and other proposals that both secure and protect our rights to privacy, free expression, free association, a free and independent press, and promote a more open, transparent government;

             Expresses its thanks and appreciation to the members of Congress who work to protect our privacy and civil liberties.

            Passed and Adopted April 11, 2014,  MLA membership meeting, Billings, Montana.