This month the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, of which the Tucson Weekly is a member, joined 52 other media companies and organizations to sign a letter drafted by the American Civil Liberties Union in opposition to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. The ACLU letter asked that Congress not pass the current legislation now moving through the Senate. The expectation is a rubber stamp to pass the Patriot Act before the law sunsets.
There wasn't a specific position on the law expressed in the letter. The exception is Section 215—this is the part of the law that has always bothered any sane newspaper person and should bother more citizens, but sadly, not enough people have complained about this part of the law. According to AAN, "this is the section that allows the government to engage in bulk surveillance of businesses, including many that have enjoyed significant First Amendment protection, such as libraries, bookstores, video stores and news media. It is the section that allows the surveillance exposed by Edward Snowden but, more to our particular interests, it is the section used by the government to press for and justify its access to records of the AP and other media entities (all of which were done in secret)." So rather than simply renewing it another five years, why not finally do the right thing and renew our faith in the civil liberties of our country?
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org