The PATRIOT Act divides opinion. Passed during a tense political context, just a few days after September 11 attacks, this law was meant to reassure the American citizens, even if it meant impairing their fundamental rights. Explanation of this very controversial law.
THE PATRIOT Act, in need of national defense?
THE PATRIOT Act, predecessor of the CLOUD Act divides. Clarification on this controversial Act.
This law was passed under the presidency of Georges W. Bush by the American Congress after the attacks of September 11, 2001. If, at first, it was to be an exceptional law and last only 4 years, the reality was different.
Indeed, it is still in force today (after two renewals respectively in 2006 and 2011) and some of its provisions have been made permanent.
Temporary you say?
Why this PATRIOT Act?
The aim was for the United States of America to adopt an anti-terrorism law in order to guarantee better national defense.
But how? By allowing American government administrations (the FBI in the lead but not without the CIA, the NSA, the army…) to obtain enhanced powers so that they can fight terrorism more effectively.
In other words, this law is the possibility to obtain for these American administrations, without prior judicial authorization or mandate and without consent or even information from the users concerned, their computer data, communications (telephone, Internet…) and other types of information.
PATRIOT Act reviews
Under this law, this right can only be used to guarantee national defense.
To any good intention its drifts.
Thus, in practice, this act allowed American organizations to “justify” the surveillance they had put in place on the behavior of American individuals (but not only, see the PRISM program).
Moreover, this law is criticized by human rights organizations because it can be a real infringement of rights and freedoms.