CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Senate Committee Misses Chance to Limit Patriot Act"

The post by Greg Nojeim (senior counsel and director, Project on Freedom, Security & Technology; Center for Democracy and Technology) at ACSBlog. After objecting to the Senate's rejection of certain proposed limits, he continues:

This is not to say that the bill the Senate Judiciary Committee just approved (S. 1692) diminishes civil liberties protections in current law. In fact, it enhances those protections, albeit in small ways.

It shortens from 30 to seven days the period during which the government can delay notice when it conducts a "sneak and peek" search to find evidence of crime. It imposes minimization requirements on NSLs to limit the dissemination to other agencies of personally identifiable but irrelevant information about Americans obtained with an NSL. It takes significant steps to bring the NSL gag provision in line with the First Amendment by providing for a more meaningful judicial review. It requires accountability measures that could uncover abuses, including Inspector General audits of the use of NSL and Section 215 authority, public reporting about the number of people subjected to FISA surveillance, and new sunsets that may prompt members of Congress to ask tough questions about use of Patriot Act powers when reauthorization is sought.
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