Essay on The Patriot Act And The Civil Liberties Of Individuals

Essay on The Patriot Act And The Civil Liberties Of Individuals

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The Patriot Act poses many threats to the civil liberties of individuals. There are a number of sections in the Patriot Act that seem to go against the general notion of privacy that is implied in the Constitution. In Title II of the Patriot Act, Section 201 titled, Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism, the government acts against the Constitution. By looking at this section from a constitutional standpoint, there are many issues that are brought up just by this short sentence. First, terrorism isn’t really defined. This makes a difference because how much authority the government actually has in interfering with communications among citizens depends on how you define terrorism. It appears that terrorism is left vague to broaden the scope of the Patriot Act allowing for potential pit falls and conflicts with some civil liberties. Also, since terrorism is not defined, this opens the door to monitoring the communication among individuals hence going against the Fourth Amendment and the Constitution. In a case that the Supreme Court 4 decided on, Katz v. U.S., Justice Harlan stated in the majority opinion, that the Fourth Amendment isn’t attached to the place but rather with the person. This goes along with wiretapping because the government is monitoring the communication therefore going against the individual’s right to privacy. Section 215, titled, Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows the government to obtain any list of names of people and look into information ( e.g. library rentals, video rentals, medical, church, mosque documents etc) without having to consult the person or receive consent, as long as the government says it i...


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...employee, or agent may not notify any person involved in the transaction that the transaction has been reported; and…no officer or employee of the Federal Government or of any State, local, tribal, or territorial government within the United States, who has any knowledge that such report was made may disclose to any person involved in the transaction that the transaction has been reported, other than as necessary to fulfill the official duties of such officer or employee.” This section alone goes against the Fourth Amendment. Not only does the government have the ability to seize financial records in secret, the financial institute that gave the records out is not allowed to inform the individual that their records were given out. Right to privacy, right of freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures not to mention a system of checks and balances are all violated.

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