After September 11, 2001, there were many new ways to look at the world around us, and a lot of new policies that needed to be put into place so that Americans would be protected.
In October of 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act, a controversial new piece of legislation that would change the American landscape. Essentially, the Patriot Act gives the US federal government the right to search through and obtain any citizens’ telephone conversations, email, financial and medical records, and any other piece of information they see fit, solely on the basis of the war on terror. In other words, if the government hears someone mentioning terrorism on the phone, they can then use that mere mention as a right to seize that person’s telephone records, as well as any other records they so desire in order to obtain more information.
Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the Patriot Act is that much, if not all of these records, could be obtained without a warrant or court order. This violates the rule of habeas corpus, and violates the Constitution, yet lawmakers allowed it to be pushed through. Perhaps the fear of something like 9/11 caused many to sacrifice some rights in the name of protection, but millions of people are still against the Patriot Act.
Once the government sets a precedent for violating private rights, there can be more opportunities for them to do so in the future. The Patriot Act is still in effect today, although some senators and congressmen are fighting to get it repealed. The concept of the government essentially spying on private citizens is not something that should be taken lightly.
Here are some helpful links containing valuable information and insights in regards to the Patriot Act:
The actual bill itself
The ACLU’s Opinion
How the Patriot Act Affects You
Extra Provisions in the Act
The Impact of the Patriot Act
Patriot Act Controversies
Our Founding Fathers & the Patriot Act
Reconsidering the Patriot Act
Details of the Act
Concerned Citizens Against The Patriot Act
Congressional Speech Against the Act
Article with Video
Amnesty International’s Stance
Past Debates in Congress
Article about Obama and the Patriot Act