The USA PATRIOT Act broadly expands law enforcement's surveillance and investigative powers and represents one of the most significant threats to civil liberties, privacy, and democratic traditions in US history.
What is PATRIOT?
The USA PATRIOT Act (officially the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) was quickly developed as anti-terrorism legislation in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The large and complex law received little Congressional oversight and debate and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001.
PATRIOT gives sweeping search and surveillance to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies and eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused. PATRIOT and follow-up legislation now in development threaten the basic rights of millions of Americans.
EFF Related Content: PATRIOT Act
- As 2012 came to a close, Congress reauthorized the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) for another 5 years. Yes, the same FAA under which the government conducted unconstitutional surveillance ; the same FAA for which the government refuses to estimate the number of Americans who have been...
- As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series. It...
- The EFF has a tool to help you contact your representative about CISPA and the broader issue of cybersecurity legislation. The bill is going to the House the week of April 23rd, so now is the time to get involved.
- “It’s a little piece of SOPA wrapped up in a bill that’s supposedly designed to facilitate detection of and defense against cybersecurity threats,” the EFF writes.
- ...the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Electronic Frontier Foundation — have filed separate lawsuits against DHS over the release of documents about policies and contracts governing its social media monitoring program. EPIC is also calling for DHS to suspend its program in light of recent disclosures.