Patriot Act under attack

A few days ago Joe had a post over on his site that dealt with police training pest control agency employees to become, esentually, undercover police. In this post Joe brought up the fact that we, then general public, are slowly losing our rights due to things like the Patriot Act.

A “lawsuit was filed against U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut by an unnamed library and the American Civil Liberties Union” on August 9 2005. What many people don’t realize is “that legal changes made under the Patriot Act ‘remove any requirement of individualized suspicion, (and) the FBI may now … demand sensitive information about innocent people.'”

Enacted after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the Patriot Act lets U.S. authorities seek approval from a special court to search personal records of terror suspects from bookstores, businesses, hospitals and libraries, in a provision known as the library clause.

The FBI letter requesting the information, called a National Security Letter, is effectively a gag order because it tells the recipient that the request must be kept secret.

What this means is that the “authoriteis” have the right to demand information about a person ranging from their book reading habits to their finicial standing for pretty much any reason they choose. Nothing more than simply stating that they think a given person is a terror suspect is needed for them to be allowed to dive into their personal records.

I am glad that someone has finally taken action to stand up to the Patriot Act, something that the ACLU calls “unconstitutional on its face.” The results of this trial will have a very large effect on just how our constitutional rights are protected or not.

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