The terrorist attacks against America on September 11th, 2001 have dramatically changed the way in which America safeguards herself.
Following the events of September 11th, Congress passed the ‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001’, abbreviated as the ‘USA PATRIOT Act’ and known simply as the ‘Patriot Act.’
The Act, aimed at updating both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the Electronics Communications Privacy Act of 1986 is composed of 10 titles all of which were hurried through Congress on October 24th, 2001 and passed the senate the following day, “…with little deliberation. Unlike a typical statute, neither the House of Representatives nor the Senate issued a report on the PATRIOT act.” (Standler, 2007-2008, p. 4) To this day, the Patriot Act remains controversial; its supporters uphold it as a requirement for The War on Terrorism and for the enforcement of modern electronic communications law. The Act’s critics cite its numerous infringements on civil and individual rights. Title II, considered the most controversial, deals directly with surveillance, wiretapping, and computer fraud. Title II also details sanctions placed on trade with the Taliban, Syria and North Korea. The Patriot Act’s Title II, Enhanced Surveillance Procedures is a breach of privacy and infringes upon the tenants of our Fourth Amendment rights.
The Patriot Act’s Title II is intended to safeguard American soil and her citizens from the clandestine activities, both electronically and conventionally, of terrorist organizations. Under the Act, law enforcement and intelligence communities are afforded greater access to surveillance procedures and enjoy a greater breadth of discretion when dealing with foreign nationals and immigrants on US soil. However, the Act disregards many of our basic constitutional rights. Those same
References: Standler, Ronald B. (2007-2008). Brief History of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, p.4 Retrieved from http://www.rbs0.com/patriot.pdf The USA PATRIOT Act: Preserving Life and Liberty. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/archive/ll/highlights.htm Caffentzis, George (n.d.). Why Unions Should Work to Repeal the USA PATRIOT Act. Retrieved from http://www.greens.org/s-r/28/28patriot.html Slater, Derek (2007, June).FBI’s Abuse of PATRIOT Act Even Worse Then We Thought. Retrieved from https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2007/06/fbis-abuse-patriot-act-even-worse-we-thought Abrams, Jim (2011, May). Patriot Act Extension Signed By Obama. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/27/patriot-act-extension-signed-obama-autopen_n_867851.html Solomon, John. (2007, June). FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data. Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/13/AR2007061302453_pf.html