The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism act, also known as the USA PATRIOT act , was enacted by Congress on October 26, 2001. It was passed in direct response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The act has provisions that affect Internet usage and computer security, as well as providing law enforcement officials with greater authority to monitor e-mail and Web site visits. It permits pen register and trap and trace orders for electronic communications, and allows authorities to intercept communications to and from a trespasser within a computer system.   However, privacy rights advocates, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) andElectronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are concerned that in an effort to track down international terrorists that the American citizen's privacy may be threatened. Privacy is one of the foundations of democracy and balancing privacy issues with national security concerns is major component of the debate about electronic surveillance. Edit

Something very important about the USA PATRIOT ACT is that it was passed only 45 days after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks. This subject was talked about by millions of people in the internet blogs relating the causes and the motives behind the whole scheme of the attacks. I am not a person with a mind full of conspiracy theories... but it makes me wonder, why was it so easy to write and pass into law a bill so important? This is a bill that gives all the law enforcement agencies the authority given to the CIA, NSA, and the other 19 agencies, congressional oversight committes, and Presidential Intelligence Teams which form the Intelligence Community of the United States of America. And at the same time this bill gives authority to all the agencies of the Intelligence Community to become FBIs.

Sections of the USA PATRIOT ActEdit

Sec. 206. Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978

Section 206 modernizes the FISA wiretap authority by giving federal officials permission to have a single wiretap legally "roam" from device to device. That way, the person or entity is tapped, not just a specific phone or computer. The roving tap authority encompasses voice mail or e-mail from several different Internet accounts.

Sec. 210. Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications

Section 210 has to do with the information that law enforcement officials may obtain from ISPs or remote computing services regarding a customer of those services.  The government may have access to a customer's means and source of payment, as well as Internet session times, durations, and IP addresses.

Sec. 212. Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb

Section 212 allows Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to give records or other information to a law enforcement agency, but not content of communications, pertaining to a customer if the ISP believes there is immediate danger of death or serious physical injury.

Sec. 213. Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant

Section 213 gives authority to the government to delay notice of the execution of a warrant. 

Sec. 215. Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

Section 215 prohibits an individual or organization from revealing that it has given records to the federal government, following a USA PATRIOT act investigation. This means that an ISP, business, or even library with Internet access can be made to turn over records about clients, but cannot tell the clients that this has been done. The person who has been investigated will never be told that he has been under scrutiny, even if there is never any evidence of his wrongdoing.

Sec. 216. Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices

Section 216 of the USA PATRIOT Act concerns pen register and trap and trace statute. The pen register is used to collect non-content bearing information associated with communications. It is permitted to use devices to trace communications on the Internet.

Sec. 217. Interception of computer trespasser communications

Section 217 defines the term "computer trespassers" to mean anyone who accesses a protected computer (any computer connected to the Internet) without authorization.  It allows law enforcement agencies to intercept the wire or electronic communications of a computer trespasser.

Sec. 220. Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence

Section 220 allows nationwide warrants for e-mail, in order to speed up investigations by not having to obtain warrants in distant jurisdictions