Are They Listening To Us? Essay

1671 words - 7 pages

Recently, much information has come to fruition about the National Security Administration [NSA] spying on the citizens of the United States, without anyone’s knowledge. This outrage is due mostly to the USA PATRIOT Act, which is an acronym standing for United and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, or more simply the Patriot Act. This Act has two powerful features, information sharing provisions and investigative tools. The provisions allow America to share more information across agencies. This in turn allows our different agencies to get information quickly. These features are in an effort to combat terrorism efforts. The investigative tools take away several rights and freedoms of American citizens which contradict the United States Constitution. Freedom of speech and freedom of privacy has been limited by the Patriot Act, allowing agencies to dig deeper without requiring a warrant. Therefore, the United States should deem the Patriot Act unconstitutional.
This Act was brought into Congress just forty-five days after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Act passed through Congress with practically no debate, and was originally instated for four years. The mission was to uncover how terrorist attacks occurred, and how to prevent future attacks from occurring. In this regard, the Act has accomplished its mission to crack down on counter-terrorism attacks, preventing more than forty terrorist attempts.
At the time, less people were against the Act because of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 terrorist attack. Everyone understood that the Act was important to solve this crime, and catch the people that devised this plan. After four years, the act was permanently reinstated. More outrage has been caused by this as the Act was now permanent – it would be much harder to repeal.
Fast forward to 2013, and there have been leaks of the NSA’s top secret surveillance programs on American citizens. The Patriot Act came back into focus because many of these programs are unconstitutional.
Several developments originally caused the Patriot Act to be passed. Not only had the worst terrorist attack in America’s history just occurred, but technology was developing too. A popular tool was the email, a new effective and discreet way of communicating with others. Other miscellaneous bombings had also occurred outside of the United States, leading to the Patriot Act.
There are several different effects of the Patriot Act. The government’s surveillance powers are increased by the Act in four main areas. First, record searches can now be easily accessed. Also, the government has a greater ability to look at third party’s records on a specific individual. Secret searches also have an increase in power. These are searches where the government can search an owner’s material without any notice given to that owner. The third increase is in intelligence...

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