A few groups of opponents have staged battle opposed to the extension of the PATRIOT Act. The voting would be the deciding factor if the bill would continue to stay alive. Two-thirds of the House members ought to vote YES so that H.R. 514 could run for another period. This move is seen as fast tracking the process in order to gain positive results. The voting is scheduled this February.
Contentions had been aired questioning the way the bill would be extended. One point that was raised was that there have been no important reforms to the previous law that would merit its extension. According to critics, there is no provision for oversight and responsibility. If ever, it is exceedingly weak and would not hold water.
Debates were completed and proposals were presented last year. Amongst the areas that have been debated on were on checks and balances. It is said that the recent projected version is full of these provisions. Though, the debates went on for so long that it did not meet the deadline. The initial extension was approved in February last year. There is another proposal to continue it until February of this year. There was a pledge to resolve the issues before granting another extension.
Another renewal is about to be proposed as February 2011 starts. This means that there would be no PATRIOT reforms that would transpire. The proposal is to extend the bill’s life until December 8, 2011. However, as what previously happened, there would nevertheless be no debate. As anticipated, nobody could have the opportunity to offer amendments to enhance the bill.
It can be presumed that there is something about the bill that raised such reaction. For one, the law makes it possible for the government to place anybody under observation. Secret court orders can be given under Section 215. With this, access to personal information could be established. These consist of internet, telephone and corporate records.
Under this law, foreign intelligence wiretaps possibly will be allowed. Anyone, even those without connection to any foreign power or terrorist group, might be tapped. Whenever government “feels” there is a requirement to do so, any telephone number, email account or other communications facility can be accessed.
The foregoing are provisions of PATRIOT “that must not be renewed”. Critics say that there ought to be significant reforms before conclusively deciding for extension. For one, there should be a discussion so that additional checks and balances can be incorporated. This will prevent abuse and accordingly protect civil liberties.
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