The US Patriot Act and Civil Rights Objections

The USA Patriot Act was enacted to discourage and penalize terrorists in the United States as well as across the globe. Following September 11, 2001, terrorist assault on the U.S., Congress approved the above the law (Oliver et al., 2015). The act revised the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which had previously governed all intelligence operations and homeland security monitoring approved by Congress. This was in contrast to the president’s globally-focused surveillance capabilities, which he employed predicated on the Constitution’s fundamental power (Oliver et al., 2015). Other critics claimed that the legislation was a reform of the nation’s surveillance rules that permitted the FBI to snoop on its residents without the need for a court order or the capacity of residents to contest the action in courts. On the other hand, the regulation expanded the government’s jurisdiction to obtain access to individuals’ information maintained by third parties and examine their private property without their permission (Oliver et al., 2015). It also gave agencies access to espionage data about the source and the message’s intended recipient. However, it did exclude the acquisition of foreign data on persons.

The act would provide federal agents additional ability to monitor and seize communications for international intelligence collection and law enforcement objectives. The law mentioned above grants Treasury legal control to fight the corruption in the United States financial firms regarding international currency laundering activities. It also works more purposefully to secure the country’s borders from international extremists and apprehend and eliminate those already within the nation. It also establishes new crimes and punishments to be used against internal and external terrorists. Thus, the above act was enacted to aid the country’s defense against acts of aggression.

However, civil rights groups have raised several objections to the Patriot Act. As mentioned earlier, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is consistently raising concerns relating to various issues highlighted by the legislation (Oliver et al., 2015). They claim, for example, that this legislation increased the right of the government to spy on its people while also removing democratic accountability on authorities such as judicial scrutiny, greater transparency, and the opportunity to challenge state investigations in courts. Furthermore, the Patriot Act grants the Attorney General as well as law enforcement agencies unneeded and irrevocable additional powers to infringe civil freedoms that are outside the declared objective of combating global terrorism (Oliver et al., 2015). These expanded capabilities might be used towards American people who are not facing criminal probes and those whose actions of the First Amendment are regarded by the Attorney General to constitute dangers to public safety.

Some groups have also claimed that, according to the Bill of Rights, the Patriot Act breaches individuals’ rights, which is found in the Fourth Amendment (Oliver et al., 2015). The act also disregards this provision because it grants a warrantless search without reasonable cause that shows the individual has done or will break the law. It also undermines the above amendment by neglecting to issue a notification to a subject whose confidentiality has been violated even after the truth.

In conclusion, the Patriot Act was enacted for the country’s greater interest to safeguard citizens from terror acts and to uncover other misdeeds. Some claim, however, that the Patriot Act infringes people’s civil rights. Thus, civil rights groups complain about the legislation in the endeavor to defend people’s rights from federal government violations. They claim that using force to gain access to confidential information maintained by third parties, as provided by U.S. law, is prohibited.


Oliver, W., Marion, N., & Hill, J. (2015). Introduction to homeland security: Policy, organization, and administration. Jones and Bartlett.

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1. LawBirdie. "The US Patriot Act and Civil Rights Objections." July 26, 2023.


LawBirdie. "The US Patriot Act and Civil Rights Objections." July 26, 2023.