“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety.” - Benjamin Franklin
Patriot Act Details
The USA PATRIOT Act, passed on October 26, 2001, in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, grants sweeping new powers to law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities.

The Patriot Act offers a broad definition of terrorism which could subject non-terrorist political groups to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action:

  • (§802) Allows law enforcement to conduct secret searches, perform roving wiretaps, and gain access to highly personal medical, financial, mental health, and student records.

  • (§206 and 507) Authorizes law enforcement officials to force librarians and booksellers to hand over book check-out and internet use records.

  • (§215) Allows FBI agents to investigate citizens for criminal activity without probable cause if they say it is for "intelligence purposes".

  • (§218) Allows law enforcement to search a person's home without anyone present and to delay notification indefinitely.

For additional information, see: Patriot Act in a Nutshell

For the full Patriot Act text, see: US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
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