The American Library Association issued a press release yesterday announcing its opposition to the Justice Department's move to bring broadband internet access within the scope of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act:
CALEA was passed in October 1994 to obligate telecommunications carriers to assist law enforcement in executing court-authorized electronic surveillance, such as wiretapping. In March, the DOJ, the FBI, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency petitioned the FCC to expand the coverage and strengthen the enforcement of CALEA.
[ALA states] that if the petition is granted, â€œinnovation will be threatened, privacy diminished, and unnecessary costs imposedâ€? on libraries and campuses that provide broadband connectivity. The groups also maintain that the expansion of CALEA could hinder the efficiency and security of existing applications and could require libraries to collect and retain more personally identifiable information about patron use, which would then be subject to requests under the USA Patriot Act.