The USA PATRIOT Act is one of the consequences of the 9/11
terrorist attack and various debates have been on whether or not the
cyber-surveillance carried out by the U.S government based on the US PATRIOT
Act infringes on the civil rights of American citizens. The US PATRIOT ACT
gives the government extended power to gain access to citizen’s activities on
the internet. Section 215 of the US PATRIOT Act further gives the FBI the
authority to compel anyone including Internet Service Providers top hand over
personal records of their client’s activities. Cyber-surveillance in the US
PATRIOT Act was introduced as a visionary measure to detect and prevent
possible terrorist attacks (Young, 2011) but it has turned out to be an abuse
of unchecked government power. Government officials can therefore spy and go
through personal files, financial records and medical histories of citizens.in
addition, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S constitution further provides for the
need for “probable cause” before conducting any searches on the personal
records of citizens but this is no longer complied with. The legislation
therefore gives the government uncontrolled power of cyber-surveillance which
infringes on citizen’s civil rights such as the right to privacy.
Young, M. D (2011). Electronic surveillance in an era of
modern technology and evolving threats to national security. Stan. L
&Pol’y Rev., 22,11.
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