Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard
jmaynard

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The Patriot Act: both good and bad

There's been a bit of debate in recent days over the proposed extension of the Patriot Act. Some folks think it should be scrapped altogether, worrying about its severe infringements on civil liberties; others think it should be made permanent because it breaks down walls between government agencies that prevented them from sharing information that can stop terrorists.

It's pretty clear to me that there are definite problems with it. The idea that the government can search my house and my computer without telling anyone at all, aside from a judge, and that they can demand information about me and prohibit those from whom the demand is made from even consulting a lawyer about the demand, makes my skin crawl. Allowing government to suck up records of such things as library borrowing is way over the line.

OTOH, it makes no sense whatsoever for the CIA to not be able to tell the FBI about a terrorist's activities. The walls do hinder the mission of protecting Americans.

It looks, as I write this, like the Act will not be renewed, since the Senate will not go along with the House and the White House's plan to extend it, basically unaltered, for four years. It's become a political football. I'm disappointed in my party for allowing things to get to this pass.

As with other things, we need to find ways to get the job done without trampling Americans' civil rights. I doubt we'll succeed here any more than we have in our airports.
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