March 6, 2011

Patriot Act:

Filed under: Patriot Act — publicandprivatespace @ 10:11 pm

By Garrett Miller

The United States government has a very controversial issue in the Patriot Act. Within the act they have a part that talks about how the government has the right to look at the library records of individuals throughout the country. The government is looking for certain types of books that relate to like weapons or certain landmarks. Many people think that this part of the patriot act effects people’s privacy. Is the government looking act taking personal freedoms away from Americans?

In Andrew Miga’s article on Washington Post he says that a librarian had FBI agents demand the records of people who get books there, but the librarian says that this is stripping away personal freedoms. They say that the government is doing this without proper judicial overlook. People are saying that the government should have to obtain a search warrant before looking at people’s personal records. George Christian says that “terrorist win when the fear of them induces us to destroy the rights that make us free.” George is the director of 27 libraries in the Hartford Connecticut area, some of which have been investigated by the government. People are thinking the same thing that George is thinking. The government is taking our freedoms away. The government can also prosecute the librarians if they tell anyone that they are being investigated by the government. The government isn’t saying if this is actually working to catch terrorist. But one thing is certain. The American people’s rights are being tampered with.

The library provisions in the Patriot Act are probably the most controversial issues within the act. But this part of the Patriot Act is causing peoples constitutional rights to be tampered with. When the FBI is looking at the records of people who used certain libraries, the librarians were contacted and told they could not tell anyone and if they did they would be prosecuted. There are several instances where this occurs.

For instance, in Andrew Miga’s article from the Washington Post said that “In 2005, the FBI issued a national security letter to Christian and three other Connecticut librarians. The letter sought computer subscriber data for a 45-min period on Feb. 15 2005, during which a terrorist threat was thought to have been transmitted. A gag order prevented the librarians form talking about the letter”. It seems like this goes against our first amendment right which states “Protects the freedom of religion, speech, and the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government”. It is clearly stated in our Constitution that we have the freedom of speech. Having a gag order on the librarians would infringe on their right to free speech.

In article 11 of the Declaration it states that “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.” Our Fore Fathers intended the first amendment to protect our citizen’s rights to free speech. But it looks like we don’t care about how the beliefs of our country were founded. In lisa Fritscher’s article on Life Script, she says that, “Freedom of speech began to erode as many worried that the most innocuous of statements, particularly those made publicly, could lead to persecution.” But the library provisions aren’t the only controversial issues within the act. So as you can see, the library and wire tapping parts of the Patriot Act are infringing upon the right of the American People.

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