Apologists justified the broad, civil-liberties corroding powers granted to the government under the USA PATRIOT Act by arguing that they would be used to put terrorists behind bars. Yet several provisions can be used against Americans in a wide range of investigations that have nothing to do with terrorism. Others are too vague, jeopardizing legitimate activities protected under the First Amendment. Worse, the Department of Justice has worked to expand and/or make permanent a number of these provisions -- despite the fact that they were sold to the public as "temporary" measures and are scheduled to expire, or "sunset," in December of 2005.
Periodically in our EFFector newsletter, we profile one of the 16 provisions scheduled to sunset and explain in plain language what's wrong with the provision and why Congress should allow it to expire.
Below is a collection of our analyses so far:
Sections 201 (and 805), "Authority to Intercept Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications Relating to Terrorism," and "Material Support for Terrorism"
Sections 202 and 217, "Authority To Intercept Wire, Oral, And Electronic Communications Relating To Computer Fraud And Abuse Offenses,” and Section 217, "Interception Of Computer Trespasser Communications.
Section 204, "Clarification of Intelligence Exceptions From Limitations on Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Oral, and Electronic Communications."
Section 206, "Roving Surveillance Authority Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978."
Section 207, "Duration of FISA Surveillance of Non-United States Persons Who Are Agents of a Foreign Power."
Section 209, "Seizure of VoiceMail Messages Pursuant to Warrants."
Section 212 and Homeland Security Act Section 225, "Emergency Disclosure of Electronic Communications to Protect Life and Limb."
Section 214, "Pen Register and Trap and Trace Authority Under FISA"
Section 215, "Access to Records and Other Items Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act."
Section 220, "Nationwide Service of Search Warrants for Electronic Evidence."
Section 223, "Civil Liability for Certain Unauthorized Disclosures"
Section 225, "Immunity for Compliance With FISA Wiretap"
More on section 203