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The USA-PATRIOT Act: A Fraction of the Problem

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4 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    This snark isn’t directed at your. But I disagree with this statement: “The problem with this debate, as with many debates over the USA-PATRIOT Act, is that it is focused only on the USA-PATRIOT Act.” The debate has degenerated (yes, degenerated) into a discussion of balancing civil liberties and safety.

    I’m pretty young, so maybe I’m missing something. But aren’t lawyers, when discussing federal laws, supposed to liberally cite statutory language and relevant caselaw? How can we debate the PATRIOT Act without, you know, actually seeing what the law is? If I were God, I would strike down anyone who said “PATRIOT Act” without being able to cite at least three provisions of the law. I propose the two following rules when debating the PATRIOT Act:

    1. Anyone criticizing the PATRIOT Act is disallowed from saying “PATRIOT Act.” Rather, they must cite the actual provision they disagree with.

    2. The person must state the pre-existing law, so that the old and new can be compared and contrasted.

    If the person is unwilling or unable to do one or two, I will pray for lighting from on high.

    In any event, my criticism is not directed at you, since you actually cite the law a couple of times. That’s gotta be a frickin’ record or something.

  2. New Law Blog: Concurring Opinions

    George Washington University law professor Daniel Solove, an expert on privacy issues, has recruited two of his colleagues for a new group law blog called Concurring Opinions. The other two contributors are Kaimipono Wenger of the Thomas Jefferson Scho…

  3. New Law Blog: Concurring Opinions

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  4. Steven Adler says:

    Dan,

    I agree that the Patriot Act is only one part of a much larger issue on Government use of personal information for decision making purposes. What I see happening today is a broad assumption of Federal power over data: with businesses, universities, between data aggregators and federal agencies.

    The White House Executive Order on Information Sharing of October 25, 2005 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/10/20051025-5.html) is a great example. It empowers all government agencies to share information on Terrorists. While it includes sentences protecing privacy, terrorist interdiction is a National Security issue and National Security issues are exempt from most federal privacy laws. The Order even exempts the Federal Accountability Office from oversight. In fact, as an executive order, the Information Sharing Council established in the order has not oversight or accountability.

    Sadly, few in Washington seem to be aware of this Executive Order or the consequences of Executive control over information without public oversight.