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REFORM THE PATRIOT ACT DON'T EXPAND IT!

In the coming days, Congress will vote on whether to make certain expiring sections of the Patriot Act permanent, and on a drastic expansion of the law to allow the FBI to go on broad fishing expeditions into the personal records of innocent Americans.

Just 45 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, with virtually no debate, Congress passed the Patriot Act. Many sections of this sweeping law need proper checks and balances to protect our constitutional freedoms. Unfortunately, the chance to do that may be lost forever when Congress votes in the coming days on whether to make permanent and expand the Patriot Act. It is imperative that you ACT NOW to protect your freedoms and keep this from happening!

Under this sweeping legislation, the government can …

1) SEARCH YOUR HOME AND NOT EVEN TELL YOU. The USA Patriot Act expands law enforcement’s ability to conduct secret “sneak and peek” searches of your home. Investigators can enter your home or office, take pictures and seize items without informing you that a warrant was issued, for an indefinite period of time. (SECTION 213)

2) COLLECT INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT BOOKS YOU READ, WHAT YOU STUDY, YOUR PURCHASES AND YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY. The USA Patriot Act gives law enforcement broad access to any types of records – medical, financial, gun, library, educational, sales, etc. – without probable cause of a crime. It also prohibits the holders of this information, like librarians, from disclosing that they have produced such records, under threat of imprisonment. The court orders are issued by a secret intelligence court in Washington and judges have little power to deny applications. (SECTION 215)


 

3) SEIZE A WIDE VARIETY OF BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL RECORDS, and in certain instances access the membership lists of organizations that provide even very limited Internet services (message boards on your church website for instance) using “national security letters,” or NSLs, which are issued at the sole discretion of the Justice Department. The Patriot Act expanded access to these NSLs, which also impose a blanket gag order on recipients and are not subject to judicial review. (SECTION 505)

4) READ PARTS OF YOUR E-MAILS AND MONITOR WHAT YOU LOOK AT ON-LINE. The Patriot Act lets the government get records that could show the subject lines of your e-mails and details about your Web surfing habits (like your recent research on Google), all without probable cause. (SECTION 216)

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LOCAL RESOLUTIONS
What your community can do.

THE NEED FOR REFORM
Key Patriot Act facts.

NSL LETTERS
No court. No telling.

SECTION 215
Spying on American citizens.

FLASH MOVIE
How the Patriot Act affects you and your rights.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
What to do if you are questioned or if you are a target for investigation.

Factsheets:
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LEARN MORE
More ACLU resources about the Patriot Act.

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ReformthePatriotAct.org