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Friday, 26th February 2010

Congress Extends Sections of USA PATRIOT Act for One Year

From the ALA District Dispatch:

Congress has extended the three sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that were to sunset on February 28, 2010, for one year without any amendments. The PATRIOT sections on business records, roving wiretaps and lone wolf investigations were originally to sunset on December 31, 2009, but the Senate ran out of time for a floor vote before the holiday recess. Then an interim deadline was then set for February 28, 2010, but time “ran out” again. With health care and other big issues, the Senate agenda has been packed with many contentious bills.


While ALA lobbied for passage of the bipartisan bill in this Congress, it is apparent that there were far worse alternatives that could have proceeded – such as eliminating the sunsets or pulling out some requirements for reporting and oversight. The many complex issues surrounding the USA PATRIOT Act and potential reforms must be part of a marathon effort, not a sprint. The library community must work for the long haul to achieve the necessary reforms.

See Also: Congress Reauthorizes Overbroad Patriot Act Provisions (via ACLU)

The provisions of the Patriot Act which were extended – the John Doe roving wiretap provision, Section 215 or the “library records” provision and the never before used “lone wolf” provision – all lack proper privacy safeguards. The Senate passed the extension by voice vote late last night.

See Also: Epic Fail in Congress: USA PATRIOT Act Renewed Without Any New Civil Liberties Protections (via Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Source: ALA (Washington Office)


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