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News of the Day ... In Perspective

11/12/2005

FBI’s use of USA PATRIOT Act concerns lawmakers

Since the USA PATRIOT Act changes, the FBI has been issuing more than 30,000 National Security Letters (NSLs) per year, a hundred-fold increase over historic norms. NSLs are not subject to judicial review and can be used to investigate the personal records of ordinary Americans without ever establishing a link to terrorism.

Because each letter can request many records, the government is accumulating staggering amounts of information. The FBI reportedly no longer destroys data, even if it is found irrelevant, and “has been ordered to develop ‘data-mining’ technology to probe for hidden links among the people in its growing cache of electronic files.” (Barton Gellman, Washington Post 11/6/05)

As the Dec 31 deadline for renewal of certain provisions of the Act approaches, the House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with NSLs a criminal offense (Hope Yen, AP, 11/5/05)

Additional information:

AAPS letter to Congress regarding implications of the USA PATRIOT Act for medical care.

Liberty Coalition on the USA PATRIOT Act

PATRIOT Act used against white collar crime: News of the Day 11/10/03

“Privacy, Liberty, Teleocracy,” AAPS News, September 2003