SAA Signs on to Letter Regarding Recent DHS System of Records Notice

SAA has signed on to a letter, written by the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), to Acting Privacy Chief Officer Jonathan Cantor expressing “concerns with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) System of Records Notice…stating that DHS will now store social media information in ‘Alien Files’ (A-Files), which include the official record of an individual’s visa and immigration history.” This “raises concerns that the collection, retention, use, and sharing of social media information will (1) invade the privacy of immigrants and U.S. citizens alike; (2) chill freedom of speech and association; (3) invite abuse in exchange for little security benefit; and (4) establish a system that treats naturalized citizens as second-class citizens.”

New SAA Position Statements and Resolutions

Melissa Torres
University Archivist
W.I. Dykes Library
University of Houston-Downtown
Chair, Lone Arrangers Section
Society of American Archivists

SAA recently released a statement on the Executive Order restricting entry into the United States. This statement opposed, in the strongest possible terms, the Trump administration’s now-defunct order restricting entry into the US from seven Muslim-majority countries. The statement, available here, is one of many voices raised in protest to the order, which ultimately helped keep the conversation going. This collective voice contributed to the dissolution of the order by federal judges.

SAA also released an issue brief on the confidentiality of private information held in executive agencies of the federal government. Starting from the premise that individual privacy is not a perpetual right, SAA supports the notion that existing federal safeguards should not be lengthened, that access to public records should be made universal 100 years after the date on an individual record, and that whenever possible, federal law should provide for a means to open records at the earliest possible date for research. The full brief can be found here. Lone Arrangers can find current and past SAA position statements and resolutions on the SAA website.