Objections Held Against the Patriot Act

The creation of the patriotic act was meant to protect the United States and its citizens from possible terrorist attacks. After creating the patriotic act, it has functioned to make it easier for the government to spy on the American citizens through the expansion of the authority to monitor individual communications through phones and emails and facilitate the ability to spy on the citizens through the internet. It also facilitates the collection of other personal and private documents, including banks and credit reports. Following its functioning, there is the assertion by some civil rights advocates that rather than protecting the ordinary Americans from the possibility of terrorist attacks, it has turned every American into a suspected terrorist.

The objections held by civil rights advocates against the patriotic act include the increased ease that the act creates for the authorities to access the personal records of the citizens held by third parties. Section 215 of the patriotic act permits the FBI to force anyone, including internet service providers, doctors, and librarians, to turn over highly confidential and personal records of their clients.  The created powers result in unchecked power that permits the government to access personal information, including medical histories, financial records, and internet usage (Richardson, 2020). The authorities no longer have to confirm the relationship of the individual being investigated with a foreign power or relate them to a potential national insecurity source.

The patriotic act also creates increase ease for more secret searches. Before creating the act, the law required that before the government engaged in a search in the personal property of individuals, the owners had to be given prior notices. With the patriotic act, the federal rules of criminal procedures are amended to facilitate government searches into personal properties without first notifying the owners of the properties (Richardson, 2020). The amendment gives the government the power to get into private property, search, take photographs, and seize property in the absence of the owners. While the search warrants limited the areas that could be searched, the officers possessed total and unsupervised power and freedom over the property they search without the warrant. The searches without the search warrant, according to the act, could be subjected to any form of investigations, and not only to criminal investigations.

The act also expands the intelligence exception on wiretap law of the United States. The created privilege allows the FBI to secretly engage in a physical search or wiretap on all persons in the United States, including American citizens as a way of generating evidence of a crime without the proof of probable cause as originally required in the fourth amendment (Oliver, Marion, & Hill, 2015). The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created an exception to the fourth amendment requirement, which required a probable cause if wiretap was used as a means of gathering information for foreign intelligence. It argues that since the searches were not done to collect evidence for trials, then the employed standards would be loosened. The exception previously only allowed searches in the case that the collected information was meant for national intelligence. The patriotic act expanded the exception to include wiretaps and searches conducted to facilitated the collect evidence, not only for suspected terrorist cases, but also for regular and domestic criminal proceedings for cases involving normal American Citizens and residents.




Oliver, W. M., Marion, N. E., & Hill, J. B. (2015). Introduction to Homeland Security: Policy, Organization, and Administration. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Richardson, B. M. (2020). Big Brother is Watching You: Establishing the Constitutionality of the Post-9/11 USA Patriot Act.

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