The Patriot Act was made after the tragic incident that happened on September 11, 2001. The terrorist attack that happened that day shook the entire nation. Americans were overcome with fear and panic. People were questioning the efforts of the government to combat terroristic activities. After 43 days from the fateful event, the USA Patriot Act was signed and made an official.
The Patriot Act is actually an acronym that stands for The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act, which was signed by President George W. Bush enacted on October of the same year.
Thirteen years later, there is still a great deal of debate about the Act’s advantages and disadvantages. Which side would you choose?
List of Pros of the Patriot Act
1. Surveillance can be the easiest.
This is because the Act removes barriers that could hinder a surveillance or investigation of a suspected area or establishment. Before the Act was signed, this was difficult to do because of restrictions.
2. Improved protection.
Law enforcement has now advanced tools necessary to help combat fight crimes associated with terrorism. As a result, police and authorities are better equipped to search people, racially profile certain persons that fit to certain stereotypes.
3. Speedier investigation.
Because there are no barriers to the government’s surveillance, investigations have become faster, preventing any terrorist groups from hiding.
4. Increased security measures.
This Act is considered crucial for safeguard lines of communication to ensure that terrorists won’t be able to easily contact one another.
5. Better results.
Since the Patriot Act was signed, around 400 convictions were terrorism related. This means that millions of lives have been saved by this regulation.
The regulations borne from this Act will help prevent any more attacks because the authorities will have the necessary tools to uncover any terrorism-related activities.
6. Ensured support for victims.
Victims and families of those who lost their lives on that sad day have been given financial and housing support as well as other services.
The enhanced funding offered to individual victims of terroristic attacks is also offered to business owners. This will help them get back on track after the 911 incident.
List of Cons of the Patriot Act
1. Invasion of privacy.
A lot of Americans feel that their privacy is being invaded because this Act allows phones to be tapped and records pulled, which are considered as breach of one’s privacy. Many people are wondering where the line should be drawn on the measures of this Act.
2. Prohibition of an anonymous status.
People won’t be able to choose an anonymous status with the Patriot Act. Information from IP addresses, phones, GPS and the like can be used to locate where potential threats are coming from.
3. Lack of effectiveness.
Detractors are under the impression that the incident that happened at the World Trade Center is an isolated one, since no other attack has occurred afterwards.
4. Vital resources are wasted.
Those who oppose the Patriot Act believe that it is a waste of public funds to track citizens of America as well as those who have moved abroad.
5. Too much power.
Many have also expressed concerns about the sweeping power the government has with this Act. They fear that this can be abused, which can be evidenced by the number of detainees who have been unlawfully taken to Guantanamo Bay.
Some people like to believe that the Patriot Act is just a waste of time and money because it’s hard to determine whether its provisions actually prevented another attack. But others believe that all it needs is to be reevaluated, reanalyzed and adjusted.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.