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What Is The Patriot Act

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Here’s Why the Patriot Act Is So Controversial | History

In simple terms, an indemnity policy is an insurance policy to cover a defect relating to a property. Such policies are commonly used to cover against the cost implications of a third party making a claim against the defects. The policy will last for many years the exact length of this will depend on the insurer.

What To Expect For The Patriot Act Reauthorization

By| Filed under |February 11, 2020

Several controversial provisions of the PATRIOT Actthe law that vastly expanded national security surveillance in the wake of the September 11 attacksare set to expire on March 15 unless Congress passes a new bill reauthorizing them. Congress should only reauthorize these provisions if it uses this opportunity to pass much-needed reforms to protect Americans privacy rights from improper surveillance.

Over the last four decades, the governments national security surveillance powers have increased significantly whenever Congress passes a new law to further this expansion, as it did with the PATRIOT Act, its building onto FISA.

As we have previously detailed, the history of PATRIOT Act surveillance is one of unprecedented violations of Americans civil liberties. And many of the most egregious misuses of the PATRIOT Act stem from systemic dysfunction throughout various aspects of the intelligence community in how national security surveillance as a whole operates.

Heres what you need to know about national security surveillance, what to expect during the upcoming reauthorization debate, and what policies will be most important when Congress proposes new legislation.

Pros And Cons Of The Patriot Act

The goal of the Patriot Act was rather simple: to give Federal and law enforcement officials a greater level of authority when tracking, intercepting, or gathering communications and intelligence of suspected terrorists. It also allowed for greater communication in foreign intelligence gathering and provided the Secretary of the Treasury greater regulatory powers regarding foreign money and terrorism.

To create these additional safeguards, certain privacy considerations from US citizens were reduced or compromised. That has included the use of secret courts where warrants can be issued to obtain metadata from phone calls and internet activities of private citizens. Warrantless collection methods were also used in some instances.

List of the Pros of the Patriot Act

1. It strengthened US measures to detect, prevent, and prosecute the financing of terrorism.

One of the key goals of the Patriot Act allowed law enforcement and government officials to use their crime fighting for the war on terrorism. Because terrorists require financing to accomplish their goals, a primary focus was domestic and international banking systems.

2. It added scrutiny to foreign jurisdictions and financial institutions.

The Patriot Act enabled the US government and law enforcement to investigate financial transactions that took place in foreign jurisdictions. This increased the chances of catching a suspected terrorist before an attack occurred.

List of the Cons of the Patriot Act

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The Patriot Act And Privacy

Some of the most controversial parts of the Patriot Act surround issues of privacy and government surveillance. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures . . . .” It requires law-enforcement officers to obtain warrants before making most searches. To get a warrant, officers must make sworn statements before a judge “particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The judge may only issue a search warrant if officers show “probable cause” that the person is engaged in criminal activity. Federal law requires that officers report to the court on the results of the search.

Surveillance such as wiretaps and physical searches requires officers to prove “probable cause” of criminality. Even before the Patriot Act, there were exceptions under federal law.

One was for so-called “pen-trap” orders. To obtain from a telephone company the numbers dialed to and from a particular telephone, officers must get a pen-trap order from a judge. They do not need to show probable cause, but must certify that the information is needed for an ongoing criminal investigation. The reason for the lesser standard is that these records are far less intrusive than wiretaps and physical searches.

Freedom Of Information Act Requests


The goal of the ODNI Freedom of Information Act / Privacy Act Office is to keep the public better informed about the agencys efforts and to ensure U.S. security through the release of as much information as possible, consistent with the need to protect classified or sensitive information under the exemption provisions of these laws.

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How Did The Patriot Act Impact American Citizens

Hastily passed 45 days after 9/11 in the name of national security, the Patriot Act was the first of many changes to surveillance laws that made it easier for the government to spy on ordinary Americans by expanding the authority to monitor phone and email communications, collect bank and credit reporting records, and

The Usa Freedom Act Of 2015

The USA Freedom Act of 2015 restored some and modified parts of the Patriot Act and barred the government from justifying the bulk collection of telecommunication records with section 215.

It did the same for collections under the National Security Letters provision, as well as forcing the government to request permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The court was also instructed to make its major decisions public.

The Act was due to expire in 2019, but Donald Trump asked Congress to make three provisions of the Act permanent. Congress instead reauthorized the Act for three months. The legislature then agreed on reauthorization in March 2020, however, Trump threatened to veto it, which led to the indefinite postponement of the Senate’s version of the bill.

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Title Ii: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures

The scope and availability of wiretapping and surveillance orders were expanded under Title II. Wiretaps were expanded to include addressing and routing information to allow surveillance of packet switched networksthe Electronic Privacy Information Center objected to this, arguing that it does not take into account email or web addresses, which often contain content in the address information. The Act allowed any district court judge in the United States to issue such surveillance orders and search warrants for terrorism investigations. Search warrants were also expanded, with the Act amending Title III of the Stored Communications Access Act to allow the FBI to gain access to stored voicemail through a search warrant, rather than through the more stringent wiretap laws.

The title also covers a number of other miscellaneous provisions, including the expansion of the number of FISC judges from seven to eleven of the District of Columbia), trade Sanctions against North Korea and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and the employment of translators by the FBI.

At the insistence of Republican Representative Richard Armey, the Act had a number of sunset provisions built in, which were originally set to expire on December 31, 2005. The sunset provision of the Act also took into account any ongoing foreign intelligence investigations and allowed them to continue once the sections had expired.The provisions that were to expire are below.

What Is The Project On Government Oversight Doing To Push For Reform

What Is The Patriot Act?

Our main priority is to ensure that Congress passes a strong reform bill to protect privacy rights and prevent abuse of surveillance powers. Well be working with a coalition of advocates and experts to persuade Congress to act, and making sure that the legislative language accomplishes what it purports to.

The recently introduced Safeguarding Americans Private Records Act is a bipartisan bill that includes many of the key improvements to FISA weve been pushing for. Weve been campaigning for years to change the PATRIOT Act, and improve privacy protections in FISA as a whole. With the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act in 2015, our work helped roll back overbroad surveillance but that law was a step forward, not a complete solution. Well be continuing to work with congressional offices to highlight the risks that overbroad surveillance poses, and how to fix them. And, as the PATRIOT Act reauthorization deadline approaches, we plan to make sure lawmakers take another big step in protecting us from unchecked and excessive surveillance.

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Expanded Money Laundering Definition

Nomenclature/definitions are also affected by Title III. For example, the definition of money laundering was broadened in scope to include computer crimes, the bribing of elected officials, and the fraudulent handling of public funds. And money laundering now encompasses the exportation or importation of controlled munitions not approved by the U.S. Attorney General. Finally, any offense for which the U.S. is obligated to extradite a citizen under a mutual treaty with another country likewise falls under the broadened laundering banner.

The final subtitle under the Title III provision deals with an effort to rein in the illegal physical transport of bulk currency. This movement builds upon the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 also known as The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Actwhich requires banks to record cash purchases of instruments that have daily aggregate values of $10,000 or morean amount that triggers suspicion of tax evasion and other questionable practices.

Because of the BSAs success, sharp money launderers now know to bypass traditional banking institutions, and instead, move cash into the country using suitcases and other containers. For this reason, Title III makes concealing more than $10,000 on anyones physical person an offense punishable by up to five years in prison.

Title V: Removing Obstacles To Investigating Terrorism

U.S. Secret Service jurisdiction was extended to investigate computer fraud, access device frauds, false identification documents or devices, or any fraudulent activities against U.S. financial institutions. The General Education Provisions Act was amended to allow the U.S. Attorney General or Assistant Attorney General to collect and retain educational records relevant to an authorized investigation or prosecution of an offense that is defined as a Federal crime of terrorism and which an educational agency or institution possesses. The Attorney General or Assistant Attorney General must “certify that there are specific and articulable facts giving reason to believe that the education records are likely to contain information .” An education institution that produces education records in response to such a request is given legal immunity from any liability that rises from such a production of records.

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Surveillance Under The Usa/patriot Act

What is the “USA/Patriot” Act?

Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, a panicked Congress passed the “USA/Patriot Act,” an overnight revision of the nation’s surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers like judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court.

Why Congress passed the Patriot Act

Most of the changes to surveillance law made by the Patriot Act were part of a longstanding law enforcement wish list that had been previously rejected by Congress, in some cases repeatedly. Congress reversed course because it was bullied into it by the Bush Administration in the frightening weeks after the September 11 attack.

Congress and the Administration acted without any careful or systematic effort to determine whether weaknesses in our surveillance laws had contributed to the attacks, or whether the changes they were making would help prevent further attacks. Indeed, many of the act’s provisions have nothing at all to do with terrorism.

The Patriot Act increases the government’s power to spy in four areas

The Patriot Act increases the governments surveillance powers in four areas:

  • Records searches. It expands the government’s ability to look at records on an individual’s activity being held by a third parties.
  • 1. Expanded access to personal records held by third parties
    2. More secret searches

    Patriot Act Expanded Government Authority To Conduct Secret Searches And Surveillance


    Law enforcement agencies are empowered with the means to conduct secret searches, surveillance of telephone and Internet communications, and acquisition of individualsprivate records without probable cause for the purpose of intelligence-gathering. One example of the federal governments extensive reach involved its controversial seizure of telephone and cell phone records from telephone companies without being required to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

    The impact of the Patriot Act has been both immediate and far-reaching.

    Its passage has resulted in new procedures and penalties to combat domestic and international terrorism. The definitions of crimes, such as terrorist attacks on mass transportation facilities, biological weapons offenses, the harboring of terrorists, and assisting terrorists with material or financial support, have found specific delineation within the law.

    Although these new crimesand the penalties that attach to themhad been addressed in prior legislation, the Patriot Act comprises a single legislative repository wherein terrorism and terror-related activities are addressed. Typically, the act supplemented existing laws and increased the penalties connected to them. For example, the act provided for the establishment of alternative maximum sentences for acts of terrorism and raised the penalty for conspiracy to perpetrate an act of terrorism against the United States.

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    Special Measures For Jurisdictions Financial Institutions Or International Transactions Of Primary Money Laundering Concern

    Rulemakings Listed in Alphabetical Order

    Commercial Bank of Syria
    First Merchant Bank OSH Ltd.
    Infobank renamed Trustbank ***

    * 9/30/04 notice extended the comment period** For any institutions/jurisdictions without a link in this column, FinCEN issued the finding in the same notice as the proposed rulemaking in the adjacent column.

    Cloud Computing In The Context Of The Usa Patriot Act

    The rapid spread of cloud services is one of the most characteristic trends and a driving force in the IT market these days. However, data privacy concerns pose significant barriers to the acceptance of cloud services by several companies. Some of the most important privacy-related concerns arise in connection with cloud services offered by corporations that are based in the United States. These concerns stem from the general opinion in Europe that US government agencies could gain easy access to customer data stored in the cloud under the terms of the USA PATRIOT Act .

    However, contrary to common belief, the USA PATRIOT Act is not in itself a vehicle used by the US government to access customer data. Rather, it is intended to unify in a single piece of legislation the various pre-existing federal statutes authorising the US government to monitor electronic communications and to access electronic data for investigative purposes.

    The USA PATRIOT Act allows the US security services general access to various records and registers and types of electronic communications., and permits them to seize electronic data. These powers relate not only to data stored in the US the US security agencies can also demand that companies operating in the US provide access to data that is stored by them anywhere else in the world.

    For more information please contact Ákos Nagy, Counsel, at


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    What Does A Federal Disaster Mean

    RESPONSE AND RECOVERY It is the long-term RECOVERY phase of disaster which places the most severe financial strain on a local or state government. A Major Disaster could result from a hurricane, earthquake, flood, tornado or major fire which the President determines warrants supplemental federal aid.

    What Defines Domestic Terrorism

    Everything you need to know about the Patriot Act

    Under the 2001 USA Patriot Act, domestic terrorism is defined as activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or of any state appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population to influence the policy of a government by

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    Updates To The Patriot Act

    The Patriot Act has been updated several times since its inception. The first time was in May of 2011 when President Obama signed a bill to extend three key pieces of the Act for four years. These extensions included: wiretaps, business record searches, and surveillance of individuals not involved with terrorist groups but who are suspected independent terrorists.

    On June 1, 2015, several provisions of the Patriot Act expired. However, Congress enacted the USA Freedom Act the very next day. This new Act renewed Obamas previous extension and effectively prohibited the National Security Agency from collecting mass amounts of phone data information. This information will now be stored by individual phone companies. The NSA is required to have permission from a federal judge in order to request files on a specific person from the phone companies.

    How Did The September 11 Attacks Change America

    The attacks had a profound and lasting impact on the country, especially regarding its foreign and domestic policies. U.S. Pres. George W. Bush declared a global war on terrorism, and lengthy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq followed. Meanwhile, security measures within the United States were tightened considerably, especially at airports. To help facilitate the domestic response, Congress quickly passed the controversial USA PATRIOT Act, which significantly expanded the search and surveillance powers of federal law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. Additionally, a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security was created.

    , also called 9/11 attacks, series of airlinehijackings and suicide attacks committed in 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda against targets in the United States, the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history. The attacks against New York City and Washington, D.C., caused extensive death and destruction and triggered an enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism. Some 2,750 people were killed in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania all 19 terrorists died . Police and fire departments in New York were especially hard-hit: hundreds had rushed to the scene of the attacks, and more than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed.

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