Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization in Brief [May 19, 2015]   [open pdf - 275KB]

"This is an abbreviated version of an earlier report, CRS Report R40980, 'Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization'. Both discuss the legal background associated with the sunset of various provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and of subsequent related legislation, although neither report seeks to track contemporary legislative developments. Congress enacted the USA PATRIOT Act soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The most controversial sections of the act facilitate the federal government's collection of more information, from a greater number of sources, than had previously been authorized in criminal or foreign intelligence investigations. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), and the national security letter (NSL) statutes were all bolstered. With the changes came greater access to records showing an individual's spending and communication patterns as well as increased authority to intercept email and telephone conversations and to search homes and businesses. […] Subsequent legislation made most of these changes permanent. However, a number of authorities affecting the collection of foreign intelligence information are still temporary. For example, subsequent legislation set June 1, 2015, as the expiration date for three such provisions (the lone wolf, roving wiretap, and business record sections of FISA). Additionally, provisions added by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, relating to the use of foreign intelligence tools to target individuals while they are reasonably believed to be abroad, will expire on December 31, 2017."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44042
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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