House Passes Three Month Patriot Act Extension

February 17, 2011 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – Following its passage in the Senate, the House voted today to pass a three-month extension of three troublesome Patriot Act provisions due to expire in February. The House had passed a ten-month extension earlier this week. The extension will now head to President Obama’s desk for signature.

The provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire are the John Doe roving wiretap provision, which allows law enforcement to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped; Section 215, or the “library records” provision, which allows the government to gain access to “any tangible thing” during investigations; and the “lone wolf” provision, which permits surveillance of “non-US” persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group. All three provisions lack proper and fundamental privacy safeguards.

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office:

“It is regrettable that this extension means living with a bad law for three more months, but the silver lining is an opportunity for Congress to focus fully on making necessary reforms to the Patriot Act. The intrusive and extensive power that this law grants our government has very real and serious effects on Americans’ lives, and has been in place for far too long. Congress should use the next three months for the kind of vigorous debate Americans’ privacy deserves.”

To learn more about the Patriot Act and the ACLU’s work to reform it, go to:

To learn more about the Patriot Act’s National Security Letter provision and ACLU client Nicholas Merrill go to:

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