Other Organizations

Although the ACLU is the best known and most prominent civil liberties organization, other national and local groups also challenge what they see as the erosion of civil liberties. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), for example, does much of the same legal and advocacy group that the ACLU does. (The NYCLU was actually founded in 1951 as the New York affiliate of the ACLU.) The NYCLU focuses on civil liberties issues in New York, including issues surrounding security measures put in place since the September 11 attacks. A typical example is a federal suit filed in January 2006 by the NYCLU and the New York University Civil Rights Clinic on behalf of a filmmaker who was detained in May 2005 for filming on a Manhattan street. He was warned that he needed a permit, but when he applied for one some months later his application was denied without explanation. The lawsuit filed by the NYCLU claimed that the film-permit requirement is unconstitutional.

People for the American Way, founded in 1980 by television and film producer Norman Lear, works to protect civil liberties by advocating with government agencies, providing statistics and information on civil rights activities across the country, and educating the public on civil liberties issues.

The American Library Association (ALA), which has more than 64,000 members across the country, works to ensure high quality information in libraries, and public access to that information. The ALA, through its Office for Intellectual Freedom, provides information on legislation and government activity that can affect how libraries disseminate information. Its opposition to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT (see below) is one example. ALA also created guidelines for librarians on how to comply with the Children’ Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires libraries to use filters to keep minors from accessing adult material.

Inside Other Organizations