USA PATRIOT Act

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Overview

The USA PATRIOT Act, commonly referred to as the "Patriot Act", was introduced to the 107th US Congress House of Representatives on October 23, 2001, where it passed with a vote of 357 to 66 (the motion was to suspend the rules and pass the bill) on October 24; all but two senators voted "Yea" (Russ Feingold voted "Nay" and Mary Landrieu did not vote) on October 25, and it was signed into U.S. law by President George W. Bush on October 26.

Its official description is "A bill to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes."

Workarounds

rsync.net seems to have come up with the idea of a "warrant canary", which gets around the provision prohibiting businesses from notifying their customers if they have been served a warrant by maintaining a notice stating that they haven't yet been served and promising to remove the notice if they ever are served: [1]

notes

  • It's not clear which part of the Act relates to this; possibly the section in the 2005 reauthorization entitled "SEC. 106. ACCESS TO CERTAIN BUSINESS RECORDS UNDER SECTION 215 OF THE USA PATRIOT ACT." To be researched later.
  • thomas.loc.gov NEEDS a way to get a permanent link to documents found from a search!!! Wikipedia currently links to expired searches for all the 2005 Reauthorization stuff. (In the meantime, of course, we can feel free to transcribe stuff into Issuepedia... this makes it much more readable, but is still a lot of work.)

Links

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Reference

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Discussion

  • 2007-06-12 To Catch a Wolf: How to Stop Conservative Frames in Their Tracks by Christina Smith: second section ("The Question of Terrorism") discusses how Wolf Blitzer phrased a question to Dennis Kucinich about the Patriot Act in such a way that he was able to slip many assumptions in without further discussion: "First, and perhaps most importantly, the question assumed that the plot was indeed serious and was not ... disorganized and disgruntled citizens who were hapless and harmless. Second, the question assumed that the plot was only foiled due to the provisions of the Patriot Act – not community cooperation or police work. Third, the question lumped all Patriot Act provisions together under the banner of necessity. Many provisions in the Patriot Act are indeed beneficial and needed. However, many more are a clear violation of civil rights – Blitzer's question did not reveal these disparities. Fourth, the language "tough measure" and "terrorists out there" represented the Bush administration exactly as the President wanted: The Republicans are tough (hence the Democrats are weak), and there is real evil immediately threatening us (and the Democrats are too weak to protect us). ... Finally, the question suggested that the trampling of civil rights through this "tough measure to deal with potential terrorists" is virtuous and worthy of being commended. Since the plot was foiled – Blitzer's question implied that the Patriot Act is an effective measure to fight terrorists – and is therefore worth the destruction of civil rights."

News

Video

  • Bullshit! by Penn & Teller (first half is about PATRIOT, second half is about surveillance)
    • "other purposes" as a legal phrase
    • most of the reps who voted for the act didn't read it
    • gives right to get lists of books checked out by library patrons without their notification
    • trials on offshore barges
    • we are at war ?? libraries as sanctuaries for terror?
    • Bob Barr, republican who voted for the act, now regrets his vote
    • cameras didn't stop the terrorists; armed passengers could have stopped them