College & Research Libraries News


Carol C. Henderson

Deputy Director, ALA Washington Office

(202) 547-4440; ALA0070

LC's Boorstin. On December 10, Librarian of Congress Daniel J. Boorstin announced his intention to retire on June 15, 1987, to devote full time to writing and lecturing. He and his wife are making a gift of $100,000 to the Library to establish the Daniel J. and Ruth F. Boorstin Publication Fund.

Sensitive information. New guidelines signed October 29 by then National Security Adviser John Poindexter give federal agencies authority to restrict the release of a broad range of government information that is unclassified but considered "sensitive" because its disclosure or misuse could adversely affect national security or other federal government interests. The latter includes "the wide range of government or government-derived economic, human, financial, industrial, agricultural, technological, and law enforcement information…".

FOIA amendments. Included as Subtitle N of the anti-drug abuse bill (HR 5484, PL 99-570) was the Freedom of Information Act Reform Act of 1986.

Effective April 25, 1987, FOIA includes a new fee schedule which limits the agency cost to a reasonable standard charge for document duplication when records are not sought for commercial use and the request is made by an educational or noncommercial scientific institution whose purpose is scholarly or scientific research, or by a representative of the news media.

A November 12 Justice Department memorandum says that under current law an agency is not required to grant an FOIA fee waiver to a library or other record repository when the request for a waiver is based solely upon its status as an institution at which records are generally available. A specific user must be identified.

Electronic privacy. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (HR 4952, PL 99-508) updates the federal wiretap law to protect against the unauthorized interception of electronic communications. Newly covered are data and video communications, electronic mail, private networks, and cellular telephone conversations, the latter despite the difficulty of enforcement.

Computer fraud. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (HR 4718, PL 99-474) extends the limited computer crime legislation of 1984 to make clear that acts of simple trespass by unauthorized users of computers owned or operated by or for the federal government are punishable. Also punishable are acts of fraud via computer or intentional destruction of computer data when committed against federal government computers or computer systems operating in two or more states.

(cont’d on inside back cover)

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