The PATRIOT Act
Almost everyone has heard of the USA PATRIOT Act, but most couldn’t tell you much about it. So what is the PATRIOT Act? Simply put, it is a law that was signed into effect by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. The term USA PATRIOT is actually an acronym that stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.
The text of the PATRIOT act specifically reduced the restrictions that police and other law enforcement officials face when they search telephone lines, email communications, medical records, financial information and other personal information. In other words, it took away some of the privacy rights that US citizens held so that our country could be safer from terrorist attacks.
Additionally, the PATRIOT act summary allowed immigration authorities to detain anyone they felt could potentially be involved in a terrorist plot. The act also included safety precautions for domestic terrorism, so even US citizens could be detained if they gave government officials reasons to suspect them.
Of course, there are many who complain that the new PATRIOT act only interferes with personal rights and is often used to discriminate against certain groups of people. For example, after 9/11, many Muslim immigrants were detained by US officials simply because of their religion or where they came from. However, since many Muslim countries have ties to terrorist organizations, it is easy to see why America was being overly cautious at the time.
The debate over the PATRIOT act and whether it is truly constitutional or not rages on. There are many Americans who don’t believe that personal rights should ever be taken away to increase national security. The other side argues that if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you really have nothing to fear anyway.