January 15, 2014
The USA Patriot Act goes against the American constitution and is an invasion of privacy. Certain tragedies inside of the United States forced this act to be hastily passed by the government. Changes must be made to protect the privacy of innocent hard working people and their given rights. Since the public feels that their privacy should be given up to help secure the country these people deserve neither, said a once very great man. So, why should that have changed October 26th of 2001?
On September 11th 2001 tragedy struck as the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were attacked by high jacked Boeing 747 aircrafts. The American people were devastated and sold on the fact that the USA Patriot Act would enhance Americans safety inside the United States. The Act reached congress by October 23 of that year and was signed by President George W. Bush the 26th. Many American people did not realize how many of their Civil rights given and declared to never be taken away or infringed on, by the United States Government, would be voided. The Government tries to claim that it is now necessary for all of the spying and data information storage that the NSA (National Security Agency) collects is used to protect its people. One case that very recently occurred that is used to so call justify why the Patriot Act is still in use would be the Boston Marathon Bombing, where some would say the two criminals were solely obtained via Government and NSA data collection. So many other American people believe that eyewitness accounts, fingerprints, and personal video recording devises (cell phones, store security cameras, etc.) are what really helped locate and declare who the two criminals were. The difference between private surveillance and NSA surveillance is that the private surveillance doesn’t automatically pose a threat to United States citizen’s privacy; it’s not all being collected and stored to incriminate any ones future.
Private security such as, store surveillance or, a person’s privately owned camera located on their property, are within their Rights and any criminal activity caught on these devises can be upheld in the court of law. Before the year 2001 any Government surveillance be it phone taps or wireless recording devises (such as cameras or just audio recorders) could not be used in the court of law to incriminate any illegal activities caught on them, if they weren’t located on Government owned property. The Patriot Act changes how people can be incriminated even though it goes against Amendments that were thought to never be taken away, ever.
More often than not Governments all over the world try to over shadow their people; this is exactly what Europeans were trying to escape from, a monarchy that tries to control all. Benjamin Franklin stated “Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserves neither liberty nor justice” wise words that ring in the ears of those who realize the oppression that the current standards of so called needed “safety” really inflicts. The Fourth Amendment was not written just to be curbed as soon as a disaster took place. It was written to prevent the injustice that is currently being made by United States Government. It was written because they knew that Governments can corrupt and would use personal information that is obtained to keep its people oppressed and powerless. The Bellingham Heralds own headline on the front page stated “NSA spies on Radicals Porn Habits”, in the article this was stated “the NSA reveals the online sexual activity of Islamist radicals in order to find ways to discredit them”. These “Islamist Radicals” were trying to support a peace talk between two nations at war.
Section 213 of the USA Patriot Act is about the ability for the US government to implement secret searches; this expands their ability to search private property without notice to the owner. This section doesn’t mention anything about probable cause. Another very controversial section of the Patriot Act would include but is not limited to section 215, which allows for the Government to rummage through the personal financial records, medical records, internet usage, bookstore purchases, library usage, travel patterns, or any other activities that leave some sort of record. The mood of congress may start moving to limit NSA spying says David Hightman who also says there is talk among congress of denying spying programs their funding due to the infringement they cause. The Fourth Amendment that was written by those who knew what Governments were capable of such as the exploitation of its people for economic and power control; the Fourth Amendment prevents any illegal evidence obtained through wrongful searches and seizers from being held against American people and all people for that matter in the court of law. The Exclusionary Rule is one part of the Fourth Amendment used to prevent the Government from taking any information it has collected about any individual without probable cause and making it useless in the court of law. The Patriot Act voids the Exclusionary Rule and voids the basic rights protecting those who were sworn to be protected by the Constitution.
The privacy of American people is not only essential for America to function but is necessary for America to hold its virtues. American’s believe that without privacy they have nothing. The Espionage act of 1917 was one of the first exposures Americans had with the government collecting information and storing it. The only place the government was authorized to have constant surveillance was on government owned and operated facilities such as “vessels, aircrafts, navy yards, submarine bases, coaling stations, torpedo stations, dock yards, etc.” this protected the mass majority of civilians from having any rights violated, but this was still disputed by many. There were over 2000 prosecutions before 1918 due to this Act.
History has shown that mass societies don’t behave once they overcome the initial fear that has been bestowed upon them. The Fourth Amendment wasn’t written in 1789 just to be over turned by a scared mass of people fearful of being taken by terrorism 212 years later. Even Benjamin Franklin had for seen people folding under the pressure of a made-up fear and all he had to say about them was “Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserves neither liberty nor justice”, because he knew that once they gave up there liberties they are no longer American but under the control of the America. But people are fearful of being marked as un-American or as a trader for having doubts about their Government, their captor’s intentions. No person should be extorted to move to pass an Act that is said to give protection and more freedom to the people, even though it can’t in the slightest, but help to keep it under even more control. Our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they heard an Act like the Patriot Act had been passed, it only goes against every freedom they fought to pass on to gain freedom to their people.

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