Prior to September 11, 2001, there were laws already in existence that allowed the government to monitor the activities of American citizens. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed in 1978, was initially enacted to establish procedures for physical and electronic surveillance and collection of foreign intelligence information (it.ojp.gov). This law crea...
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...speech on a political website. (www.aclu.org) Initially, when these letters were received the person responsible for gathering the information was limited in who they could discuss the matter with. Through the efforts of individuals and organizations such as the American Library Association, revisions have been made to these provisions of the Patriot Act. Both of these provisions were originally subject to “sunset” which would allow them to expire unless expressly re-authorized by Congress (ila.org). In March, 2006, legislation was passed that permits a recipient of a NSL to consult a lawyer and seek judicial review of the letter’s validity. The FBI may still “gag” recipients indefinitely, but it must certify that a need for secrecy exists (Nielandt). Section 215 was reauthorized in 2011 until 2014 and section 505 was made a permanent federal statute (ila.org).
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