The Patriot Act: Spying And Security In The United States

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The United States is spying on citizens suspected of terrorism. This is done mainly with bulk data collection and filtering by the NSA. Spying and warrants are attended to legally through Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and specially made courts. The courts provide judicial review. The goal of the spying is to find citizens influenced by foreign radicals into a potentially violent level of fringe ideology before they act. The NSA’s surveillance was largely uncovered by Edward Snowden’s leak. The PATRIOT act expanded many existing surveillance programs and enabled tracking programs such as XKeyScore and PRISM program. The goal is to identify terrorist activity online by bulk data collection, then acquire a warrant and search the data …show more content…
They see the FISA courts as mere rubber stamps in a secret government machine. Opponents of PATRIOT believe that this is an expansion of government taken during a time of crisis, citing the 40 or so days between 9/11 and the passing of the act as proof it was waiting in the wings for a tragedy. The most important issue raised by opposition is questioning if the PATRIOT act had any real effect, often claiming there isn’t once major terrorist attack that was prevented by the legislation. Opponents argue that the oversight is to tightly linked to the field of counterterrorism and is much more permissive to any infractions which may otherwise be cause for concern. Opponents of PATRIOT act usually support Snowden as a whistleblower and in some cases, as a national hero. He blew open the scale and details of the system with which the NSA was operating; the details and programs are paraded as proof that the PATRIOT act is not being used for good. Regarding the specific powers enhanced by PATRIOT, most are viewed as unnecessary or counteractive to the individual rights, and leave the potential for abuse open. The issue of what level of oversight is present versus what level is required comes up. Making a secret court and secret warrants by definition impairs the people from making fair appraisals of the system in the ballot booth. Since it is well known that different agencies have different definitions regarding terrorism, among other things, the question of who is operating the warrant is important. Depending on what agency receives a warrant, the definition of terrorism is changed as well as what evidence is

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