The U.S.A. Patriot Act Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 March 2017

The U.S.A. Patriot Act

Abstract

            The protection of civil rights in the society requires thorough understanding of political, social, and economic conditions. Under certain political pressures some societal groups require special protection. However, with the desire to minimize the risks of foreign terrorism, privacy rights seem to lose their relevance in the legal system of the U.S.

The U.S.A. Patriot Act

            Introduction

            The U.S.A. Patriot Act is the set of legal norms aimed at decreasing the risks of foreign terrorism in the U.S. The Act’s provisions actually introduce amendments into numerous law enforcement, surveillance, and counter-terrorism legal norms to expand their legal borders, and to provide their broader application under the constant threat of terrorist acts.

            The U.S.A. Patriot Act

            The U.S.A. Patriot Act is the document which requires detailed review in the light of privacy rights protection. In the process of reading the Act, one cannot but notice that in the attempt to protect the U.S. citizens from the threat of terrorism, the authors of the Act have actually created extremely unfavorable conditions for the equality and protection of the privacy rights. Although the Act openly states that “Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, and Americans from South Asia play a vital role in our Nation and are entitled to nothing less than the full rights of every American” (The U.S.A Patriot Act 2001, I:102), it also implies that privacy rights will hardly remain important when it comes to eliminating terrorism.

            The Title II of the Act is devoted to surveillance procedures, and significantly broadens the rights of the surveillance agencies. This Title is the key to discussing the issue of privacy rights as related to the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

“Any investigative or law enforcement officer, or attorney for the Government, who by any means authorized by this chapter, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, or evidence derived therefrom, may disclose such contents to any other Federal Law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official” (The U.S.A. Patriot Act 2001, II:203).

In this context, the U.S.A. Patriot Act not only fails to provide the exact criteria for such disclosure, but it also initially breaks the privacy rights of those, whose information is to be disclosed. Moreover, the Title II of the U.S.A. Patriot Act significantly expands the rights of juries, government’s attorneys, courts, and intelligence agencies in disclosing personal information which is otherwise prohibited (The U.S.A. Patriot Act 2001, II: 102).

            The Section 212 of the Title II of the U.S.A. Patriot Act refers to the right to disclose customer records “to a governmental entity, if the provider reasonably believes that en emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person justifies disclosure of information” (The U.S.A. Patriot Act 2001, II:212). Again, we face the need to specify the criteria of such disclosure, and the legal criteria of determining the potential risks towards someone’s health or life. Without these criteria, the Act directly violates the privacy rights of the U.S. and non-U.S. citizens on the U.S. territory.

            Conclusion

            The U.S.A. Patriot Act was a legal attempt to produce sound counter-terrorist measures. However, as it has significantly expanded the rights of the law enforcement agencies, the Act has also failed to protect the basic privacy rights of those who may appear under the pressure of the Patriot Act’s provisions. This does not mean that the discussed Act loses its relevance. Under the threat of terrorism, legal provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act deserve attention and may serve the reliable instruments of eliminating terrorist risks. Yet, the U.S.A. Patriot Act will become legally correct only in case it provides specific criteria for each case of breaking the privacy rights and for determining the threats to one’s health or life.

References

The U.S.A. Patriot Act. (2001). Retrieved March 02, 2008 from

http://epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html

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