The Patriot Act
At midnight on October 26, 2001, George W. Bush signed the new law, the Patriot Act. This Act allowed the government to know what you are doing on online. The government also has the right to search your computer or send the FBI to search your house unannounced. The Patriot Act has increased security but lowered privacy. There is a question that the government is abusing the Act. Is the Patriot Act more helpful than hurtful or more harmful than handy?
The “Patriot” in Patriot Act is an acronym for Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism. It is unknown who wrote the Act. It was drafted, debated, and passed in only 45 days. People on both sides have strong feelings on the issue. Rumors say that the president was forced into signing it.
In 2000, Authorities nabbed the “Wig Bandit” bank robber when surveillance tapes were shown on TV and a viewer recognized him. This is an example of using spy technology to catch criminals. The Patriot Act, signed and passed in 2001, makes it legal for the government to spy. The Patriot Act allows someone to spy on you from so far away that you look like a period.
In 2003, TIA is created and named Terrorist Information Awareness. New privacy rules go into effect as a result of TIA. People are free to gather personal information about you in order to sell your things. That is perfectly legal. However, they may not gather information in order to steal your things. The Patriot Act secretly arrested and jailed more than 1,200 people after the signing. All of their information was sent into a classified database. The Patriot Act lets the FBI to look at library records. The FBI knows your IP address.
“I have brought peace and prosperity to my new Empire”, stated Anakin Skywalker. On May 19, 2005, Star Wars III was released in theatres. In the movie, the evil emperor justifies his dictatorship by ensuring that everyone will be safe and secure in his new Empire. Some people thought that the creator, George Lucas, was making a political statement against the Patriot Act – lost liberty in order to be safe equals lost democracy.
The Act allows law enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror. It created higher maximum penalties for different crimes and it prohibited the harboring of terrorists. Victims of third parties can request a search to be done. It reflects new technology and new threats. Law enforcement can conduct searches without the terrorists knowing they are being searched. Terrorists’ plots have been thwarted out because the government knew what they are doing on the internet. No more terrorist attacks have occurred in America since the Patriot Act was signed and passed.
The Patriot Act facilitates info sharing and cooperation among government agencies so that they could solve cases easier. Law enforcement officials may obtain a search warrant anywhere a terrorist activity occurs. Nothing in the Patriot Act changed search and seizure. The Act expands the power of FISA courts.
The Patriot Act ensures security, which protects Americans’ Liberty. The Law enhances freedom. The Act is vital to protect America’s safety. Society needs to be safe and secure to flourish. It’s the government’s chief responsibility to protect its people. How do we preserve our rights to pursue life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness from terrorists trying to destroy us? We need to put up with some inconveniences and loose some liberty to protect ourselves and our democracy. We have to pay higher prices for imported goods so that they can be search and deemed safe. We have to have our bags and bodies checked at airports. We have to understand that to protect ourselves we may be subjected to FBI searches. To be safe, we have to be willing to make some personal sacrifices. Democracy is based on checks and balances. Our checks and balances system is strong enough to ensure that the Patriot Act is not abused.
It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger…” -James Madison. Our forefathers stated that everyone is entitled to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. When liberties are constrained, we do not live in a democracy. Freedom is what our country is based on. It is a model for other countries, such as China, who do not allow liberties, such as free speech. Anyone who refuses to offer their allegiance to the country or the leader can be considered a terrorist under the Act. The Patriot Act could be abused to crush any supposed opposition to the government.
Many of the things within the Act are not really accomplished. The Patriot Act cannot stop terrorism. There is a way to get past all technology blocks and firewalls. Firewalls cannot block everything. The company that put up the firewall can illegally sell the codes that can get your computer virus infected. When you make a purchase with a credit card you trust the store that it will not use your credit card to steal from you. Bill of Rights? Yeah, Right! Where is our freedom and free speech? Gone down the toilet since the Patriot Act 2001! Great Loss of Privacy on Oct. 26, 2001. Stronger internet privacy laws are needed, now! Every little click of a button is recorded, looked at, and stored in a memory base. Where is the privacy there? All to stop terrorism. Even though, 0 out of 5000 suspects have been convicted for terrorism. Children have the right to have online privacy. We have given up too many personal freedoms. The government now gets to search your home and never tell you. Your private property is now yours and the FBIs. They monitor your e-mails and your internet surfing. Government can arrest people on the internet. Violates the 1st (Freedom of Religion) and 4th (Search and Seizure) Amendments to the Constitution. Therefore there is no tangible evidence that the Act is working.
A federal judge lifted a gag order that shielded the identity of the librarians. Free speech is important and the government is not showing it. The Patriot Act has backfired from a good thing to a bad thing. In total Roll Call number 414 there were 257 Yeas votes and 170 Nays. Court orders FBI to Release Patriot Act information. Some documents were opened to show the dumbness of the Patriot Act. It just makes America less safe and less free. Court declares parts of Patriot Act unconstitutional because it violates 1st and 4th Amendment. A federal district court judge struck down two key supports of Patriot Act, ruling that using a secret spying court to wiretap and search homes for criminal prosecutions. Censorship and secrecy may be turned on us as a weapon of SELF-DESTRUCTION, Court says. Two FBI agents searched a man’s house and the man was jailed.
The Patriot Act has many pros and cons. Many people are very passionate about both sides of the issue. We are lucky to have a strong democracy. In this democracy, we have effective checks and balances to ensure the Act is upheld, deemed unconstitutional or not abused.