Individual-Rights Perspective vs Public-Order Advocates
The USA PATRIOT Act is an act made to improve the ability of US law enforcement to detect
terrorism. It passed forty-five days by Georges W. Bush after the attacks in New York on
September 11, 2001. It provides law enforcement with new tools to fight against terrorism and
reduce the growing threat that flew on the American society. Despite the good devotion hidden
behind this Act, it has created a controversy between supporters of individual-rights perspective
and the public-order advocates.
In fact, Individual rights perspective is for the people seeking to protect personal freedom
and civil right. On the other side, the public-order advocates are one who seek to believe that under
certain circumstance involving a crime threat to public safety, the interest of society should take
precedence over individual rights. Individual rights perspectives claimed that it affects their
individual rights. The Act had restricted the government from listening to people’s conversations
on a private face to face, telephone, and electronic communication unless authorized by court order
in the event of a serious crime. Section 201 and 202 of the USA PATRIOT ACT added terrorism
and computer crimes in the list of severe offenses thus the law enforcement attained court orders
to listen everything. Voicemails were withdrawn from such protections that govern telephone
conversation. Section 216 of that act allowed trace devices which would be used to identify calls
made from one location to the other. The method did not require a court order but a government
certificate to show information gathered from such surveillance was crucial.
The critics of the PATRIOT Act insisted some of the parts in the Act were unconstitutional
and would lead to abuse by the federal authorities. For example, section 215, was believed to
violate the privacy protection by the Fourth Amendment as the law enforcement did not require
search warranties or warning of the suspect before invading their privacy. Secondly, the FBI
conducted surveillance on the US citizen without a probable criminal engagement. The other way
the individualist rights feel the Act has undermined the constitution, matters concerning the
forfeiture of estate. In the Sections 106 and 806 of the PATRIOT ACT, the act allows the freezing
of the property of terrorist individuals or organizations. The constitution, on the other hand, does
not call for the conviction of the terrorist property but forfeiture.
Finally, it’s evident division will continue to emerge over the USA PATRIOT Act, but
the truth is the situation shall remain to be a contradictory one whether the current changes
remain or more amendments are made in future. Those that complain of invaded privacy are the
same people who fall victims to terror attacks. Instead of people being self-centered of
government invasion to their privacy, they should appreciate the safety that they have
experienced over time Government surveillance had helped counter planned terrorist attacks
before they took place, and this has significantly contributed in reducing the number of terror
attacks and destructions that would have taken place. Individual privacy and safety lose meaning
if the whole society was under attack and therefore, people should start realizing the crucial role
the government plays in ensuring a safe world for the good of humanity. But I also think that the
government should manage to make everyone feel more comfortable, it is quite possible to
maintain a good society's security without depriving each individual of his rights guaranteed by
Birkland, T. A. (2015). An introduction to the policy process: Theories, concepts, and models of
public policy making. Routledge.6W2
Doyle, C. (2001, December). Terrorism: Section by section analysis of the USA Patriot Act.
Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress.
LAUNDERING, M. (2001). THE UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA BY
PROVIDING APPROPRIATE TOOLS REQUIRED TO INTERCEPT AND OBSTRUCT
TERRORISM (“USA PATRIOT ACT”) ACT OF 2001.
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