Magazine article Information Management

After Close Calls, PATRIOT Act Renewed

Magazine article Information Management

After Close Calls, PATRIOT Act Renewed

Article excerpt

With a stroke of his pen, President George W. Bush renewed the USA PATRIOT Act in March after a filibuster and a cliffhanger vote in Congress.

Bush's signature made permanent most of the major provisions of the original 2001 law, and most of the act's controversial provisions remain intact. However, the revised legislation includes new curbs on law enforcement investigations.

The bill renews 16 expiring provisions of the original Patriot Act, including one that allows federal officials to obtain "tangible items" such as business records, including those from libraries and bookstores, for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

Other provisions clarify that foreign intelligence or counterintelligence officers should share information obtained as part of a criminal investigation with counterparts in domestic law enforcement agencies.

Three provisions of the renewed act will have to be reviewed in four years; the other provisions are permanent.

Among the more controversial provisions are the "roving-wiretap" portion and the "sneak-and-peek" section. The first allows the government to get a wiretap on every phone a suspect uses, while the second allows federal investigators to get access to library, business, and medical records without a court order. …

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