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All About The Patriot Act

Updated on April 28, 2009

What is the Patriot Act and why should I care

George Orwell’s book 1984 continues to become more of frightening reality, especially with the enacted Patriot Act of 2001. In response to the terrorist acts of September 11th, George Bush signed this act into law that gave powers to the Justice Department in terms of domestic and international surveillance of American citizens and others within its jurisdiction. At its best, it was meant to safe guard our borders to hopefully prevent another terrorist attack before it started. However, what does it mean for the typical individual?

The Patriot Act allows our government to legally tap phone lines in many cases, intercept Internet messages, and access to medical, financial, and other records.

How does that affect you personally? Some opponents feel it violates your right to free speech. Some opponents also claim the act was on the drawing table prior to 9/11 and that the government pushed it through without completing due diligence.

The Patriot Act eliminated the checks and balances system that previously ensured that the surveillance tactics were not abused, which now threatens the basic rights of millions of Americans. Even though it was aimed at terrorism, it is not limited to it.

You can be watched at any time and not even know it, even for being involved with or in the proximity of a “legitimate protest”. This means that your internet surfing, phone calls, and private records can be accessed without your permission. A law enforcement official can be granted a little “sneak and peak” search warrant if you are suspected of a federal crime or even misdemeanor to enter your private premises without your permission and even knowledge. Where is the fairness in that?

Some would argue that the Patriot Act has performed some good in catching the bad guys.

But in general, it threatens the civil liberties of the everyday Joe.

If you created a blog and ranted about the government’s treatment of you and perhaps took it too far to the left, then you may be considered a minor threat and put on a watch.

If you have a partner, friend or family member from another country that is not a US citizen, that person can be charge with minor evidence and held indefinitely, regardless of the nature of the crime.

The Patriot Act has a lot of vague definitions that can hurt you as an American citizen, and it violates not only the 1st Amendment, but the 4th and 5th.

It is important to know your rights and understand how the Patriot Act affects you.

For most people, you may never have to worry about it. However, with all the blogs and all the information we put forth you should keep track of how your records appear. Research the rights you do have, and contact your state representatives and senators to let them know how you feel, if change is in order.

If you do business online, you can help protect yourself by making use of strong encryption. For example, if you're using an online backup service, make sure that your data is encrypted using an encryption password that's only known to you and you alone. This way, your backup provider can't be compelled to give up your private computer backups. They will be completely unuseable.

"Big Brother" Is Looking Into Your Digital Life

Take precautions. Encrypt your interactions.
Take precautions. Encrypt your interactions.

Do you encrypt your online interactions?

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