The Merits/Drawbacks of the USA Patriot Act Term Paper by scribbler

The Merits/Drawbacks of the USA Patriot Act
A review of the USA Patriot Act of 2001, and its implications for citizens' privacy rights in the United States.
# 152516 | 1,251 words | 3 sources | APA | 2013 | US

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The paper discusses the benefits the Patriot Act provided for criminal justice and law enforcement statutory authority and explains that it allowed law enforcement to catch up with 21st century technologies and encouraged collaboration between law enforcement agencies. The paper then discusses, however, how the Patriot Act has also helped create a nation where just about anyone and anything can be investigated, regardless if they are a terrorist threat or not. The paper relates that law enforcement agencies like the FBI can issue letters to service providers requiring detailed information on subjects of interest, and they do not have to have a warrant, or even probable cause. The paper concludes that we want to keep the country safe, but Americans do not understand just how dangerous some of the Act's provisions are.

From the Paper:

"According to many experts, the Patriot Act greatly expanded criminal justice and law enforcement statutory authority, allowing them much greater access into citizens' lives. Some legal aspects of the Patriot Act were long overdue according to some experts. For example, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), enacted in 1978, was far outdated and did not allow wiretaps on multiple communication devices, a necessity in the era of cell phones and computers. One expert states, "The USA PATRIOT Act, enacted in October 2001, overcame this limitation by amending the existing FISA law to allow what is called 'roving surveillance authority' -making it legal for agents to follow one suspect, whatever instrument he or she uses" (Etzioni, 2005, p. 28). This was an improvement over the existing laws, and many feel that the Patriot Act addressed this and other limitations correctly.
"Another aspect of the Patriot Act that was sorely needed, according to experts, was the tracing of email messages that often travel through several different jurisdictions. Author Etzioni continues, "Now, thanks to the USA PATRIOT Act, national tracing and recording orders are permitted under FISA. That is, law enforcement authorities have finally been allowed to catch up with the particular technological features of e-mail" (Etzioni, 2005, p. 29). Again, the Patriot Act allowed law enforcement to catch up with 21st century technologies, and that was a good thing for the criminal justice system as a whole."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cassel, E. (2004). The war on civil liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft have dismantled the Bill of Rights. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.
  • Etzioni, A. (2005). How patriotic is the Patriot Act? Freedom versus security in the age of terrorism. New York: Routledge.
  • Zetter, K. (2009). FBI Use of Patriot Act authority increased dramatically in 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2010 from the Web site:

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Merits/Drawbacks of the USA Patriot Act (2013, March 04) Retrieved August 10, 2020, from

MLA Format

"The Merits/Drawbacks of the USA Patriot Act" 04 March 2013. Web. 10 August. 2020. <>