The Importance of the USA Patriot Act Essay

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The Importance of the USA Patriot Act

The United States government changed the face of computer and internet use when it signed the USA Patriot Act on October 26, 2001. This act was created in the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York City on September 11 that same year. Many people believe that this act is a good thing and will help in defense against any future attacks. What most people do not know, however, is the effect of this act on the more general public. This includes individual people, public libraries, colleges and universities, and even trucking or hauling companies.

The basis of the USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept
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Agencies previously used subpoenas to obtain these records. The problem with this was that there was a court process that had to be gone through before records could be obtained. Now, the agencies only need to obtain a search warrant for this, greatly speeding up their process.

The USAPA provides agencies the ability to ask for student records in concurrence with a terrorism investigation. This was previously protected by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. These agencies must, however, receive a court order from a Federal District court. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service is given quite extensive powers concerning foreign students. The school is required to keep visa information on these students and update any changes to these visas. Science programs have much more requirements than other areas. Scientists must have thorough background checks before they can obtain materials from the newly-expanded toxin list that the government keeps. Also, convicted felons, people dishonorably discharged from the military, illegal aliens, and people convicted of using illicit drugs are not allowed to use these documented materials.

Most instances concerning trucking or hauling companies comes in the form of the information kept about their drivers. Extremely thorough background checks are required for drivers of trucks carrying hazardous waste materials. The main part

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