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Tuesday, 16th June 2015

Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief

Source: Congressional Research Service via Federation of American Scientists

Introduction:

Shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act, in part, to “provid[e] enhanced investigative tools” to “assist in the prevention of future terrorist activities and the preliminary acts and crimes which further such activities.” To that end, the act eased restrictions on the government’s ability to collect information regarding people’s activities and communications, both in domestic criminal investigations and in the realms of foreign intelligence gathering and national security. The changes are perceived by many to be necessary in light of the new breed of threats in a post-9/11 world. The expanded authorities also prompted concerns regarding the appropriate balance between national security interests and civil liberties. In part for that reason...some of the changes have been revisited and modified in subsequent measures. At this writing, Congress faces the prospect of three provisions expiring this summer and another at the end of 2017.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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