Patriot Act Legislation Introduced In House With Improved Civil Liberties Protections

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Mandy Simon, (202) 675-2312; media@dcaclu.org

Patriot Act Legislation Introduced In House With Improved Civil Liberties Protections

WASHINGTON - Legislation
to amend the Patriot Act with improved civil liberties protections was
introduced in the House today by Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI),
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Robert Scott (D-VA). The original Patriot Act
was rushed through Congress days after 9/11 and granted the government
broad surveillance powers to spy on innocent Americans. Today’s
legislation is meant to address three provisions of the Patriot Act set
to expire this year as well as additional provisions that are not set
to expire.

The
USA Patriot Amendments Act would create better civil liberties
protections for many of the Patriot Act powers, including restricting
the gag order attached to receiving a subpoena known as a national
security letter (NSL). Just today, a federal court ruled that the
government can continue to enforce a five-year-old gag order on an
Internet service provider (ISP) that the FBI served with an NSL many
years ago. The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil
Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the
ISP. Under a current Patriot Act provision, the FBI can use NSLs to
demand personal records about innocent customers from ISPs, financial
institutions and credit companies without prior judicial approval, and
then bar NSL recipients from disclosing anything about the record
demand.
 
The
USA Patriot Act Amendments Act also terminates the never-used lone wolf
power and limits the use of NSLs to collect information on suspected
terrorists or spies instead of innocent Americans.
 
The
following can be attributed to Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of
the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office:
 
“The
USA Patriot Amendments Act is a welcome step toward reforming the much
abused Patriot Act and would go much further than the current Senate
bill. Instead of merely tweaking overly broad surveillance provisions,
this bill will actually institute much needed privacy and civil
liberties protections into the Patriot Act. We can’t simply continue to
kick Patriot Act reform down the road any longer. We will be
encouraging members of the House Judiciary Committee to make this good
bill even better during markup in the coming weeks.”
 
To learn more about the ACLU’s work on the Patriot Act, go to: www.reformthepatriotact.org
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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