The Patriot Act, a bill passed overnight, revised the nation's surveillance laws on the government's authority to spy on its citizens, while erasing checks and balances set on those powers. It further allowed the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, as well as other federal law enforcement agencies to have, among other things, the virtually unmatched power of surveillance on citizens and non-citizens alike. Everything from e-mails to medical records to library accounts, if deemed necessary for investigation on supposed threats to the nations security, are open to scrutiny providing alarming access to once private information. Now legally any law enforcement agency can wiretap phones, break into homes and places of work, and access personal or financial records without probable cause, warrants, or even having to inform the persons involved of such acts in most cases. The Patriot Act also broadened terrorism to include "Domestic Terrorism", which could potentially be used to target activist groups within the country speaking out against the Bush Administration's policies and actions. As well as disregards attorney-client privileges, authorizes government surveillance of previously confidential discussions, and detaining Immigrants indefinitely based on suspicion alone, which has aided in the... [continues]
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