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The Collective
Friday, September 7, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Judge strikes down part of Patriot Act

A federal judge struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act on Thursday in a ruling that defended the need for judicial oversight of laws and bashed Congress for passing a law that makes possible “far-reaching invasions of liberty.”

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero immediately stayed the effect of his ruling, allowing the government time to appeal.

[…]

The ACLU had challenged the law on behalf of an Internet service provider, complaining that the law allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court supervision required for other government searches. Under the law, investigators can issue so-called national security letters to entities like Internet service providers and phone companies and demand customers’ phone and Internet records.

A past posting on the national security letter situation can be found here and a WaPo column linked to the lawsuit in question can be found here. I would recommend that the column in particular. The situation is one that should be utterly unacceptable in the United States of the America.

All of this boils down to the fact that in the post-9/11 context that President and the Congress have been quite willing to gut judicial oversight from information gathering activities that could easily lead to private information of innocent citizens being obtained simply because the FBI wants it. That establishes a system that could very easily be abused.

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