ACLU Honors NSL Clients with Medal of Liberty
|LISTEN TO THE SPEECHES|
|Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU|
|Jameel Jaffer, Director, ACLU National Security Project|
On June 15, 2007, the ACLU presented the Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty awards to four Connecticut librarians and the president of a New York Internet Service Provider (ISP) who stood up against the Patriot Act and refused to violate the privacy of their patrons and clients.
Representatives of Library Connection in Connecticut — Barbara Bailey, Peter Chase, George Christian and Janet Nocek — and a "John Doe" ISP received National Security Letters (NSLs) from the FBI but were gagged from revealing that the FBI had sought information from them. Instead of complying with the broad requests, which were issued without any judicial oversight, the librarians and John Doe joined the ACLU in separate legal challenges. The FBI has since dropped its gag order on the librarians, but continues to prevent the New York "John Doe" from speaking publicly.
NSLs are used to compel libraries, universities, Internet providers and other organizations to disclose sensitive information about their customers and patrons. Using NSLs the FBI can find out which web sites a person has visited, which books she has borrowed from the library, what her credit score is and to whom she's been sending e-mails. Businesses and organizations that are served with NSLs are prohibited by law from telling anyone else that the FBI demanded information from them.
The awards were presented by Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU, and Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU's National Security Program, at a dinner ceremony. The ceremony came at the end of the 2007 ACLU Biennial Conference, during which more than 250 ACLU delegates came to Seattle to consider and vote on policy resolutions.
The ACLU's Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty, awarded every other year, recognizes a lifetime of contributions to civil liberties or, in exceptional cases, a single outstanding contribution.
PAST MEDAL OF LIBERTY RECIPIENTS
> 2005: Military Lawyers Honored for Challenging Guantanamo Policies
> 2003: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Anthony Lewis To Receive Baldwin Medal of Liberty at First-Ever ACLU Membership Conference
> 2001: ACLU Awards Prestigious Medal of Liberty to Japanese Americans Who Challenged Internment During WWII