Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Congress Votes to Renew Patriot Act, With Changes

WaPo reported Congress voted yesterday to renew a four-year-old anti-terrorism law that makes it easier for federal agents to secretly obtain Americans' records and communications, even as some lawmakers warned that voters are growing increasingly concerned about protecting civil liberties during the fight against terrorism. The reauthorization would make permanent all but two of the Patriot Act's provisions. The Senate, in which four Republicans joined most Democrats in pushing for greater safeguards, insisted on four-year sunsets of the FBI's authority to conduct "roving wiretaps" of targets with multiple phones or e-mail devices,

That is foolish. Roving wiretaps, where a court order to tap one phone extends to all other phones the person may have, including throw-away cellular phones, makes good sense, and it should be made permanent.
and of the government's powers to seize business records with the FISA court's approval.

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