The USA PATRIOT Act broadly expands law enforcement's surveillance and investigative powers and represents one of the most significant threats to civil liberties, privacy and democratic traditions in U.S. history.

What is PATRIOT?

The USA PATRIOT Act (officially the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act) was quickly developed as anti-terrorism legislation in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The large and complex law received little Congressional oversight and debate, and was signed into law by President Bush Oct. 26, 2001.

PATRIOT gives sweeping search and surveillance to domestic law enforcement and foreign intelligence agencies and eliminates checks and balances that previously gave courts the opportunity to ensure that those powers were not abused. PATRIOT and follow-up legislation now in development threaten the basic rights of millions of Americans.

What should I do?

Use our Action Center and tell Congress to protect Americans' privacy and free speech rights.

The Fight for PATRIOT Reform

Congressional Reform
EFF has pushed Congress to reform PATRIOT. Though its dangerous "sunsetting" provisions were unfortunately renewed, EFF continues to press for more substantive civil liberties protections.

FOIA Request to DOJ Concerning Pen-Trap Surveillance [PDF]

Doe v. Gonzales
(Doe v. Ashcroft) Defending free speech and privacy, EFF has helped the ACLU and an unnamed Internet service provider (ISP) challenge the constitutionality of "National Security Letters" (NSLs), a key power under the USA PATRIOT Act.

EFF Media Releases About PATRIOT

Can the FBI Monitor Your Web Browsing Without a Warrant?
January 14, 2005

Court Strikes Down Key USA PATRIOT Power
September 29, 2004

Draft 9/11 Legislation Goes Too Far, Revives PATRIOT II
September 27, 2004

EFF Urges Court to Find USA PATRIOT Act Powers Unconstitutional
May 25, 2004

Federal Judge Rules That Part of the USA PATRIOT Act Is Unconstitutional
January 26, 2004

EFF Supports the Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act
September 28, 2003

Patriot II
February 8, 2003