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How has the USA PATRIOT Act Affected You? 1062

Posted by Cliff
from the long-reach-of-Washington dept.
wetdogjp asks: "October 26th, 2004 marked the third anniversary of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (or USA PATRIOT Act, as it is more commonly known). While the Slashdot crowd can certainly muster the enthusiasm to debate its pro's and con's, I'd like to know: How has the USA PATRIOT Act affected you, personally? How has it interfered with your personal and professional life? Has this act influenced your Presidential vote?"
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How has the USA PATRIOT Act Affected You?

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  • Umm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheKidWho (705796) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:31PM (#10707001)
    How about it has not effected me one bit. Just like how it has not effected 99.9% of Americans.
    • Re:Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:33PM (#10707012)
      Hey, dumbshit. The whole point of the PATRIOT Act is that you won't know if you're under investigation under the terms of the PATRIOT Act.

      Rule #2: If this your first revolution, you have to fight.
      • Re:Umm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DZign (200479) <averhe&gmail,com> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @04:34AM (#10708555) Homepage
        and those really affected by it are probably not in the possibility to post about it on /.
    • Re:Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:33PM (#10707016) Journal
      You may think so, but with "sneak and peek" searches. you may never even know.
      • by MacDork (560499) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @01:01AM (#10707557) Journal
        And since "sneak and peek" DOES NOT SUNSET, be prepared to not know for a long time to come. The gubmint has been trying to slip this one by us since well before 9/11. It was shot down at least three times in recent history. First it was the Cyberspace Electronic Security Act (CESA). [zdnet.com] Then the Clinton administration tried to push it through with a meth bill. [glil.org] When that failed, they tried to sneak in through as an amendment to a bankruptcy bill. [mapinc.org] All the while, the DOJ, led by Reno, was claiming to already have this power without any need for additional legislation in the Nicodemo Scarfo case.

        Your only hope is to have it shot down in the Supreme Court now. Both parties have been pushing for this for some time. The People had already spoken. We consistently and emphatically told them 'hell no'. Three strikes, you're out, right? Oh no! Now the world's a different place with all the terrorists running about! Privacy is great an all, but the founding fathers could hardly anticipate terrorism! Get with the program you whining liberal pinkos! Now the FBI can sign their own warrant, sneak into your home, plant bugs and video cameras, and basically make Amendment 4 null and void.

        May I make one suggestion; Would you be so kind as to change your name from FBI to KGB and give up any pretense? Thanks.

    • Re:Umm (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jjh37997 (456473) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:35PM (#10707027) Homepage
      How about it has not effected me one bit. Just like how it has not effected 99.9% of Americans.

      Considering the government can now obtain secret warrents and perform search without your knowledge how do you know it has not affected you?

      • Re:Umm (Score:3, Informative)

        by MoneyT (548795)
        I've said it before, I'll say it again because no one has done it for me yet.

        Show me the section of the patriot act which gives the government the authority to obtain a "secret" warant.
        • Re:Umm (Score:4, Informative)

          by thenightisdark (738700) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:48AM (#10707495) Homepage
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename= article&node=&contentId=A16287-2003Mar23&notFound= true

          Under prior law, if the primary purpose of a search was to obtain "foreign intelligence information," the FBI could obtain a secret warrant through the court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to conduct a physical search or wiretap without notifying the target of the search. The counter-terrorism law lowers the standard to permit the FBI to conduct a secret search or wiretap if intelligence surveillance is a significant purpose of the search. Thus, under the new law, law enforcement could conduct secret searches for the primary purpose of investigating criminal activity, with the auxiliary significant purpose of intelligence surveillance. This could circumvent the 4th Amendment's probable cause requirement for obtaining a search warrant.

          from

          http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oi d= 9392
          • Re:Umm (Score:5, Informative)

            by MoneyT (548795) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:21AM (#10708016) Journal
            Well, for one, you didn't answer what I asked, you didn't provide me with a section. But here is the section you're refering to:

            SEC. 218. FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION.

            Sections 104(a)(7)(B) and section 303(a)(7)(B) (50 U.S.C. 1804(a)(7)(B) and 1823(a)(7)(B)) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 are each amended by striking `the purpose' and inserting `a significant purpose'.


            For 2, this doesn't change things. The FBI could still obtain taps against you under FISA. What this does is allow the FBI to persue a criminal prosecution if they find said information. Furthermore, it ignores two very important aspects.

            1) If you were in court over this, and lawer worth his salt would argue that any basic criminal evidence found falls under this aspect of FISA

            C) that such information cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques;

            And you would get said evidence suppressed.

            2) It also ignores that there are a ton of hurdles to jump through to use any FISA tap against a US citizen.
        • Re:Umm (Score:5, Informative)

          by Anonymous Custard (587661) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:21AM (#10708017) Homepage Journal
          Maybe secret's the wrong term, but it's illegal for you to disclose that you've been served by such a warrant. See http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/hr3162.html [epic.org] , section 215, revision to 501 (d):

          "`(d) No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section."

          So a warrant exists, and no one is allowed to mention it. They must keep it a "secret". Thus you could call it a secret warrant, though a "classified" warrant might be more accurate.

          So that is the section of the patriot act which gives the government the authority to obtain a "secret" warrant.
    • Re:Umm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Scoria (264473) <slashmail@@@initialized...org> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:37PM (#10707044) Homepage
      As Americans, we are responsible for perpetuating our civil liberties. According to your response, we shouldn't exhibit concern for the 0.1% of Americans that have been affected. That complacency would merely encourage the legislators to enact additional laws, and those laws would eventually affect 100% of the American population.
    • speak for yourself, because of a typo in it i was forced to be turned into a parrot, and others i know too. Not only was the bill not read, it wasn't spell checked either.
    • Re:Umm (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ubergrendle (531719) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:40PM (#10707076) Journal
      Well, I work at a Canadian bank and we've had to stop outsourcing alot of our contingency server hosting to the US. Given certain provisions and interpretations of the PATRIOT act, we cannot guarantee privacy of personal data to our customers -- as we must do as indicated by Canadian law. So now instead of having a primary datacentre in Toronto and a backup in South Carolina, we're moving everything out west to Alberta. We still run servers and call centres in the US, but all the data warehousing is now 100% Canadian.

      So, if you work in IT, I suspect alot of people have been indirectly affected but don't realise it. I doubt you'll have SWAT teams bursting into your house and seizing your home PC due to using Kazaa, but the aggregate affect over the entire economy is tough to measure.
    • Re:Umm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Rayonic (462789) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:42PM (#10707104) Homepage Journal
      > How about it has not effected me one bit. Just like how it has not effected 99.9% of Americans.

      On the contrary, it just got you modded down. ;-)
    • Re:Umm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vantango (719830) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:28AM (#10707405)
      It has affected me.. I'm a foreigner. The patriot act has essentially revoked the visa-waiver program and now requires me to be finger-printed (and photographed) the next time I enter the US. I'm not going to be going there anymore. I'll spend my vacation dollars somewhere else.

      The last time I was there (earlier this year), my wife and I had to undergo additional security screening at every single airport we used. I don't want to be treated like a criminal everywhere I go and I will avoid going there on business as well.

      But who cares?
    • Re:Umm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheCaptain (17554) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:44AM (#10707481)
      No...the Patriot Act has affected me terribly.

      It filled my former favorite "news for nerds" website into a fucking partisan whinefest.
  • Not much. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wig (778245) <alawiggle@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:32PM (#10707003)
    It hasn't really affected me. I do hear some clicking in my phone every time I talk on it, but I think that's just the phoneline.
  • by ylikone (589264) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:35PM (#10707031) Homepage
    It seems that Americans like the Patriot Act and are willing to put up with 4 more years of this nonsense.

    I'm a Canadian that feels deeply disappointed that so many Americans can still vote for someone like Bush. Yikes!

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:45PM (#10707125) Journal
      Well, perhaps it bears reminding you then that BOTH Bush AND Kerry came out in support of the suggested "part 2" of the original Patriot Act. In fact, when questioned about the details, Bush said he would be "largely in support of it, with a few changes" while Kerry said he was in total support of the bill, as-is.

      I'm an American who is deeply disappointed that more people can't see past the B.S. that is our current 2-party system and place a vote for the Libertarians.

      Insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.....
      • The problem is they go too hardcore and also often act like assclowns. I mean if you asked me what party I was, I'd have to say Libertarian. Their general views seem to match my general views on the majority of issues. Problem is the party itself gets all extreme about them, and that's just not a way to break in to the current system.

        Then they also pull stupid ass stunts that make them look immature. In Arizona, they got an order to show cause as to why they were excluded from the debates. Now they actuall
        • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:33AM (#10708069)
          *claps*

          Thank you! You are absolutely correct... The LP's problem is that they sell 1 "Big Libertarian Package" as the solution to everything -- as if free markets are a miracle elixir.

          Well, for the most part, free markets *are* close to a miracle elixir, :-) but good luck convincing everybody else of that. The LP needs to sell their stance in pieces at a time, being staunch and principled when it counts, and moderate at others.

          IMO, Arnold Schwarzenegger is as close to a Libertarian as anybody has ever elected to significant office (Ron Paul aside, although I think Ah-nold actually is more powerful in his position). True, he's not libertarian on gun control and his support of Bush is disheartening, but otherwise, he exhibits some rather libertarian traits [freeliberal.com].

          But Schwarzenegger is not a big-'L' Libertarian. He realizes he cannot sell full drug legalization to voters, so he instead sells marijuana legalization for medicinal purposes. He can't sell privatization of most govn't functions to people, so he sells the easier privatizations first. He attempts to fund the govn't in a relatively low-tax way, e.g. via his $15b bond issue.

          Like Ronald Reagan, the CA governor he seems to emulate (but with a deeper streak of social liberalism), Arnold sells to the public a package of strong (but not extreme) fiscal conservatism in the face of "economic girly-men", social tolerance, and sunny Reagan-style optimism.

          Personally, I think the Libertarian Party ought to emulate Schwarzenegger if they want to break their current Presidential popular-vote record of 1% (in 1980, with Ed Clark, who eventually founded the Cato Institute). Of course, the LP, being run by Randroids left over from the 1960s when "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" were big hits are still the ones running the show -- and Randroids, of course, don't compromise.

          So we're stuck w/ the LP of today until the damn idealistic Randroid old farts leave.

          Based on what admittedly-little (not being a CA resident after all) I know of Schwarzenegger, I would *gladly* vote for him for President on either a Republican or Libertarian ticket (of course, this would require a change the Constitution - which is pretty unlikely). If he were running for President today in place of Bush, no doubt in my mind, I would vote for Schwarzenegger, as would many Americans, I believe... but as it stands, I voted Badnarik, and most Americans will likely vote for Bush (the polls appear to be shaping up that way). *sigh*

          My *ideal* Presidential candidate would be my favorite moderate libertarian and economic deity, Milton Friedman. But alas, he has no interest in actually running for office, and at his present age of 92, he's really too old now anyway. But Schwarzenegger is, by Arnie's own statements, basically one of the intellectual offspring of Friedman's books ("Free to Choose"). Fortunately, it seems to show too...
          • by Gooba42 (603597) <gooba42@gYEATSmail.com minus poet> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:25AM (#10708320)
            The most frustrating and scary part of the Libertarian party and/or people claiming to belong to it is their uncompromising stance on the hallowed "Free Market". A handy example is the belief that, left to its own devices, Microsoft wouldn't choose to crush the life out of any and all competition by fair play or foul. The fact that, at least publicly, the Libertarians admit to *no* exceptions either in theory or in practice is impossible to comprehend. The free market is a great theory but reality doesn't allow any theory to flourish unchanged. The idea that *all* problems stem from interference by government rather than from greed leaves me wary.
    • Here are some actual "rational" reasons why this may be the case:
      1. Economy and jobs: Raising minimum wage ~40% in 2 years will cause the unemployment rate to skyrocket. If I recall, Kerry's plan is to raise minimum wage to $7 from about $5.30 or so by 2007. I'm thinking someone forgot to tell him that yes, those few people left with jobs will be paid more, but you'll have about 40% fewer people currently at the minimum wage level employed. Or, a lot more people will be paid under the table. That's not to s
  • No affect, so far (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:35PM (#10707034)
    I have not been personally affected by the existance of the PATRIOT act as of yet.

    However, in 5-10 years if the PATRIOT act is still around, I believe things will change greatly. Once the US stops chasing people around the globe these very convenient changes in rights and law will be used against everyone equally.

    Not to mention: I doubt it's exactly fair to ask this question here, because anyone who actually *has* been affected by the PATRIOT act probably no longer finds themselves in a position where freedom of speech or the ability to access devices for global communication are available to them.
    • Do you really believe that if Bush wins today there will be any end to the "war on terror"? It is an unwinnable conflict that can be used as a bogyman to scare the American people into voting Republican until the economy totally collapses.

      The most telling thing I have ever read on /. was the article somebody linked to in their sig which listed all of the American presidents since 1900 ordered by GDP growth and change in unemployment rate (IIRC) what I do remember was that the worst Democrat had a better
  • Alot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZeeCog (641179) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:36PM (#10707038)
    Completely robbed me of my faith in my country.
  • by Shayde (189538) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:38PM (#10707051) Homepage
    I used to be apathetic about government and politics. Uniniterested in 'what those wanks in Washington were doing'. The first inkling of a problem was the CDA (Communications Decency Act), which was scary, but okay, some bad legistlation is bound to happen.

    Then Bush and his cronies moved in, and anything even approaching preservation of civil liberties, the Constitution, or... okay, lets be honest, our dignity... went totally out the window in pursuit of idealism and Empire building.

    I'm ashamed that the coutnry I live in could put a man like George Bush in power, could support a congress that would ratify such onerous legislation as the Patriot Act, and, what's worse, even consider re-electing this man. (As I type this, the US elections are still undecided).

    More commentary on my blog [homeport.org], I'm done ranting here. :)
    • by John Jorsett (171560) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:06AM (#10707931)
      Then Bush and his cronies moved in, and anything even approaching preservation of civil liberties, the Constitution, or... okay, lets be honest, our dignity... went totally out the window in pursuit of idealism and Empire building.

      You may not have noticed, but the USA Patriot Act passed 98-1 in the Senate, 356-66 in the House, meaning the vast majority of Democrats voted for it too. If you hate the Act, you can equally blame the Democrats for whatever ills it brings.

  • Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FiReaNGeL (312636) <fireang3l@hotmai ... om minus painter> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:38PM (#10707058) Homepage
    As a Canadian, you would expect that it has NOT affected me. But in the light of recent news [canoe.ca], I'm not so sure anymore. I'll get flamed for this, but why should your government Patriotism give them every right in MY country? Canadians are patriotic too, love they country, want to protect it, etc... did we ever invade USA citizens privacy like this? Sure, its to fight terrorism... but be careful not to damage your relations with your allies by doing so (if its not already done, with France and the Iraq war).
    • Re:Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rew190 (138940) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:00AM (#10707256)
      Most of us sane Americans don't believe there are too many patriotic aspects to said act.

      Sure, its to fight terrorism... but be careful not to damage your relations with your allies by doing so (if its not already done, with France and the Iraq war).

      Totally agree, but you'd better not argue that with a stanuch right winger as they would probably tell you something like "Other countries have no control over us!" or similar spin, much like what we saw at the second debate over the global test comment.
  • by Pollux (102520) <speter AT tedata DOT net DOT eg> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:40PM (#10707071) Journal
    Has this act influenced your Presidential vote?

    This is simple. Why I voted for Kerry:

    1) President Bush empowered himself to take the civil liberties away from US Citizens. The last president I remember really hacked away at rights explicitly stated in the US Constitution was John Adams (correct me if I'm wrong). Bush claims that it will only be used on terrorists, but merely being accused of being one automatically strips you of your civil liberties. Declared guilty before proven innocent. Even Timothy McVeigh still received a lawyer and a trial.

    2) President Bush guarded nothing in Baghdad except the oil refinery. I truly believed up until I read about this that "liberating" Iraq was not because of the oil, but because Saddam was hiding something up his sleeve. I tried to convince everyone I could in Egypt that it wasn't about the oil.


    • President Bush guarded nothing in Baghdad except the oil refinery


      Guarded nothing but? Don't believe everything you read. OIL is needed to rebuild Iraq (it's the cornerstone of Iraq's economy afterall).
    • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:56PM (#10707225)
      Other Presidents who took away civil liberties include

      Lincoln - During the Civil War, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and frequently imprisoned Southern spies and sympathizers without trial as well as imprisoned Newspaper editors and martial law was declared in cities like Baltimore.

      Wilson - During World War I, Congress curbed civil liberties with sweeping censorship and antisedition laws. In 1919 the Attorney General, A. Mitchell Palmer, responded to a bombing at his home by authorizing raids in 33 cities and arresting 6,000 people, most of them immigrants, some of them citizens, on suspicion that they were Communists or anarchists. Soon after declaring war on Germany and its allies in 1917, Congress ruled that the U.S. mail could not be used for sending any material urging "treason, insurrection or forcible resistance to any law." It punished offenders with a fine of up to $5,000 and a five-year prison term. The government soon banned magazines including THE MASSES and THE NATION from the mails for expressing anti-war sentiment.

      FDR - Japanese American Internment, German American Interment, Italian American Internment. On Feb. 19, 1942, Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the secretary of war or military commanders designated by him to establish "military areas" from which "any or all persons" could be removed. In 1942 the Supreme Court ruled that Roosevelt's military commissions were constitutional when used to try eight Nazi saboteurs for violating the laws of war, spying and conspiracy.

      Truman - National secrecy laws, CIA establishment

      Clinton - The copyright laws, President Clinton asked Congress for the authority to conduct "roving wiretaps''--that is, wiretaps not on a particular phone but on any phone used by a particular individual--without court approval. Although that specific provision did not pass, the 1996 terrorism bill did expand the government's wiretapping authority. During the Clinton administration, HUD began investigating and threatening community activists who objected to shelters and public housing units in their neighborhoods. In New York, Berkeley, Seattle, and other places HUD enforcers demanded correspondence, minutes of meetings, flyers, and lists of contributors on the grounds that the activists were engaged in illegal racial harassment.
  • by DreadPiratePizz (803402) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:40PM (#10707078)
    Why would this affect my vote for president when both major candidates are in favor of the act?
  • by marktaw.com (816752) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:42PM (#10707106) Homepage
    At a time when some of our compatriots were dazzled by America and hoping that these visits would have an effect on our countries, all of a sudden he (Bush Sr.) was affected by those monarchies and military regimes, and became envious of their remaining decades in their positions, to embezzle the public wealth of the nation without supervision or accounting.

    So he took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act, under the pretence of fighting terrorism.


    - Osama bin Ladin [aljazeera.net]
  • I encrypt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:47PM (#10707147) Homepage Journal
    It's made me aware of government intercepts in ISP's, so I've setup postfix, cyrus, courier and sendmail wherever I use them to use SSL whenever possible. I also finally bought a real cert (from InstantSSL for $50).

    I suppose Carnivore and Echelon were there before Patriot but it didn't wake me up as much.

    It bothers me personally and politically, yet there was no candidate I could vote for who was against Patriot and for Preemption. In the end, Patriot was lower on my scale. You could say I like my terrorism policy like my operating systems - preemptive rather than cooperative.

    I'm firmly of the opinion that no matter what we do to try to protect the country there is a way around those measures. Short of locking everybody in their houses there are opportunities for terrorists to strike.

    So we shouldn't step on _any_ civil liberties of Citizens and we should be on the offensive.
  • by Dyolf Knip (165446) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:47PM (#10707161) Homepage
    What are we supposed to do, wait until a few million people _are_ affected by bad laws before suggesting they are not in our best interests? That sort of thinking got us the War on Drugs and millions of citizens spending time in prison and law enforcement constantly expanding its scope to try to enforce fundamentally unenforcable laws. Most americans weren't affected by the Alien and Seditions Acts. Most americans in the north weren't affected by slavery laws. Most germans weren't affected by the Nuremburg laws. Just because it doesn't screw over >50% of the population in the first 3 years of its existence doesn't mean that it shouldn't be fought. Particularly when the law itself demands that any uses and abuses be kept hidden from the public.
  • A fun experience: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Epona (121083) <hookrah@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:51PM (#10707186) Homepage Journal
    Last February, I had just returned home from the mall and was parked outside of my apartment when I got a call from a friend of mine who was waiting for me in the lobby. Just as he was walking outside to say hello, all the people who looked as though they were walking home from work suddenly turned on us and whipped out badges. These were members of the Secret Service Police (in charge of money fraud etc) and the Anti-terrorism task force.


    My friend was taken away in about 5 minutes to some secret underground interrogation room, and didn't come back for about 3 hours.


    I was questioned at the scene about any knowledge I had about blank checks and my friend's connection to terrorist organizations.


    The police asked to search my car, and when I refused, I was suddenly surrounded by members of the SWAT team, dogs, machine guns and all.


    They searched my car with me on the ground at gun point (during rush hour in downtown DC, no less!), and needless to say, found no fake checks.


    When all was said and done, the man in charge of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force/Secret Service Police shook my hand and thanked me for doing a great service to America, and a great service for freedom. My pleasure.


    Apparently, someone with a grudge against my friend had called a contact at the treasury dept. and told him that we were all involved in a money laundering scheme. They take those threats pretty seriously.

    Oh yeah, they also stole the chinese food I had brought home for lunch :(

  • by Shoten (260439) on Tuesday November 02, 2004 @11:58PM (#10707240)
    #!/bin/sh

    case $Election_Outcome in
    Kerry )
    echo "The Patriot Act has had a significant impact on my life. Some of it has been indirect, like the Wiccan friend (who was my friend before she was even Wiccan) in another part of the country who warned me that knowing her might jepoardize my clearance...it already had for some of her other friends. And the only reason why is because of her affiliation with a Wiccan coven. I'd point out that the Supreme Court has ruled that Wicca is a valid religion, and that covens are eligible for tax-exempt status as such." ;;

    Bush )
    "Ah, the glorious Patriot Act! It has done nothing but brought cheer and happiness to me since it was first conceived. My papers are in order, ja?" ;;

    esac
  • As a scientist... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xanthines-R-yummy (635710) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:04AM (#10707276) Homepage Journal
    I have to go through a blood-borne pathogens training seminar twice a year where I work. Despite not working with blood or infectious agents, I will be required to sign a statement saying I will agree and comply with the Patriot Act. Refusal to sign will apparently lead to non-compliance with safety training, which will lead to no grant money! The NIH will not authorize grants for researchers who do not have the proper protocols and properly trained staff (ie safety training).

    Will this really affect me in any meaningful way? Probably not. However it's still a little weird.

  • No Problems (Score:3, Funny)

    by zugcat (602448) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:07AM (#10707289)
    The CENSORED act has not affected ma at all. I work at CENSORED and we have no CENSORED. I have noticed no difference in my life at CENSORED since theCENSORED act came to be. I can even process CENSORED reports and look at all the files in the CENSORED. I do not believe that the act has caused any censorship or CENSORED on the part of CENSORED . Any on who think they are affected adversely onlt need to lodge a complaint with the bureau of CENSORED. You can e-mail them at CENSORED@CENSORED . You can also reach them via the url www.CENSORED.CENSORED Respectfully, CENSORED
  • Loss of faith (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ncrypted (9589) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:16AM (#10707344)
    The USAPATRIOT act may not have affected me in any material way, but it has affected me in some very serious ways, namely a loss of faith in some of the basic principles that make up my idea of what America IS.

    By allowing expanded powers to the investigative branches of the government with only minimal oversight by the judicial branch, the act undermines my protections under the 4th amendment. Sneak-and-peak warrants have been allowed under the FISA and criminal statutes since the late 60's, with probable cause, and with bench approval.

    Now, however, the standards have been lowered to a point that the average citizen can have their private records and personal affects searched (and bugged) for, what would have been in the past, only minimally suspicious behaviors. Imagine, for instance, that you are a student researching a paper for a comparative religion class that takes you into the realm of researching reasons, justifications, and methods used by suicide bombers/terrorists. With only the barest of oversight, the government now has the right to partake of surveillance that would have been considered "beyond the pale" only 3 years ago.

    My biggest complaint, however, has nothing to do with the above. It has to do with the "Enemy Combatant" detainments that have been an ongoing problem in the judicial system. Under the 6th amendment, we have the right to a speedy and public trial. By right, we have for the last 200+ years enjoyed this protection under the bill of rights. Now, though, if the government can come up with a reason to label you an enemy combatant, they can hold you for an indefinite time in an undisclosed location, with no access to legal counsel.

    At one point in the past, I was a Muslim. I frequented a mosque that I discovered (many years after the fact) was frequented by "unsavory" types that were recruiting people to fight in one of the earlier Palestinian Intifada's. Do I now have to forever look o'er my shoulder to see if I am being followed? Maybe.

    Both of the above situations are also are protected by the 14th amendment (due process), but this due process has been undermined by the USA Patriot act.

    How can we truly call ourselves the land of the free when we allow our constitutional freedoms to be circumvented by acts of congress?

  • by mike_sucks (55259) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:23AM (#10707384) Homepage
    ... and who doesn't live in the country:

    The Patriot act has made me decide to never go to the US. There's a lot of stuff I'd like to see and do there, but I will never enter the US as long as Bush is in power and legislation like the DCMA and the Patriot Act are law.

    /mike
  • by drewzhrodague (606182) <drew AT zhrodague DOT net> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @12:44AM (#10707478) Homepage Journal
    The US Patriot Act has caused me to fear my government even more than normal. Now, when I work on my projects, even if I am not actually a terrorist [wifimaps.com], I worry that I may be labled as such. Is this the way a law abiding citizen should feel at home?
  • It's real. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icefaerie (827772) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @01:09AM (#10707595) Homepage
    The PATRIOT Act has affected me quite personally.

    I'm a high school senior. This summer, I was in Ithaca visiting Cornell. After our visit to the campus, we decided to do some exploring of the area, because it's really quite lonely up there but also quite quaint. We figured we could find a cute little town down by the lake there. We decided to check out Aurora on Route 90.

    Well, we turned down another road by accident. It was unmarked and at a 10% grade downhill. We wound up at the lake, certainly, but not in Aurora. We found ourselves at a power plant. Obviously, we knew we were in the wrong place, so we stopped.

    My dad suggested I get out of the car and take some pictures. The sun was setting and the area was terribly scenic. At this time, another car, a dark sedan that had been following us down the road, made a quick turnaround. I proceeded to get out of the car and take some pictures. My dad called me back, so I ran back to the car, and we drove off. That was at 7:38 pm.

    Fast forward to 11pm. My family is at the hotel, and my sister and I are trying to go to sleep. For reference, we have two adjoining rooms, one for my parents and one for me and my sister. Somebody bangs on my parents' door saying he's with the state police. My sister and I heard it and we assumed it was a joke.

    It wasn't a joke at all. The New York State Police really came into my parents' room and started questioning them. My sister and I had sort of gotten up and were listening through the door. Keep in mind that at this time I'm in my pajamas and without my contacts. The officers notice someone next door, and we come into my parents' room.

    The State Police were investigating a possible terrorist threat: me.

    My dad had been talking for me, but there were inconsistencies in his story. Obviously. He wasn't the one taking the pictures after all. I didn't remember exactly what happened, as in which picture I took in what order, because it wasn't as if I thought I would need to know that.

    THe officers want to see my camera, so my dad goes and gets it from the car. I'm in tears, because here I am, half blind and not dressed, being accused of being a TERRORIST.

    I showed them my camera, and they thought it was digital, but it's not; it only appears so because it's got a large LCD status display on the back. (Thank goodness I stick to film, because I don't want to think about what might've happened to me had it been a digital camera.)

    The entire scene at the plant had been recorded by a security camera, and the way the other car was there coupled by how I ran back to the car and how quickly my dad turned around made our behavior seem very suspicious.

    The police told me that that power plant supplies one-sixteenth of the power to the East Coast and that knocking it out would leave millions without power for months. My case was especially worsened by the fact that there had been a legitimate threat against another area plant that same day. They told us we were lucky they found us: they'd had to stop a bulletin going out to the whole East Coast looking for our car. If they hadn't, the next day we would have been surrounded by 20 state police cars with guns to our heads. If that's not a threat, I don't know what is.

    They wanted my film. I used up the last shot on the roll just by taking a picture of the floor, and then I handed the film over. The fact that I had fourth amendment rights never occurred to me. I was quite frankly scared out of my mind. Other people I've told said they would have refused, but my life had just been threatened. I think that's the part they don't get.

    So they took my film and left. I couldn't sleep for quite a while and was quite visibly upset through the next day.

    I'm still paranoid about police.

    It took me quite some time to realize that I had done nothing wrong. There were no signs of warning or anything near the power plant. No "Authoriz
    • Re:It's real. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by targo (409974) <targo_t@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:58AM (#10708209) Homepage
      I had a similar experience this spring when visiting the otherwise nice state of Louisiana.
      I had been recording our trip by taking pictures of all kinds of random stuff that we saw, and one day we saw some cool-looking oil refinery by the roadside. I stopped, got out my camera and snapped a pic of it, then continued the drive. ONE MINUTE later there was a police car behind us; they made us stop and forced me to erase that picture. Being an immigrant with less than zero rights in this country, I complied.
      The absurdity of the whole situation (real terrorists would not have stopped, and would have just taken a picture, or even better, found it on the web on the official homepage of the plant) didn't really get to the cops.
      Or perhaps, this is all just part of the game. Nobody really cares about the terrorists, and the government is simply and blatantly trying to scare people into submission.
    • Re:It's real. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by will_die (586523) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:31AM (#10708341) Homepage
      So where was the PATRIOT Act used?
      Nothing that happened was done differently because of a FEDERAL act, it was the STATE police.
      The police could before the PATRIOT act ask you questioned, before the PATRIOT act they could ask you to let them see or have something. So how has the PATROIT act affected you?
    • Re:It's real. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by molo (94384) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @05:03AM (#10708670) Journal
      They wanted my film. I used up the last shot on the roll just by taking a picture of the floor, and then I handed the film over.

      The point is that my civil right were violated.

      Not if you voluntarily gave over the film. If they asked for it and you refused and they took it anyway, then you would have a case.

      -molo
  • At least 2 ways: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @01:46AM (#10707838)
    1) Personally: It offends my sense of civil-libertarian principle. The law leaves Americans less-free to go about their business unmolested by the hand of Big Brother. Restrictions on freedom should always be as few as reasonably possible, and the PATRIOT Act certainly doesn't qualify as a justifiable reasonable restriction on freedom in my book. It didn't 3 years ago, and it still does not.

    2) Professionally: Having worked in the financial industry, the PATRIOT Act made my employer more-transparent to the govn't for terrorist-spotting purposes. This is a drain on our system resources and therefore, our productivity, and therefore, our efficiency, and therefore, our profits, and therefore, my income. So the PATRIOT Act has regulated away some (perhaps admittedly-small) amount of my income -- and for what?

    Nothing except freedom-reduction and inefficiency, as far as I can tell.

    Here's a better question: how many terrorists have we caught thanks *solely* to the PATRIOT Act? If we are to justify the law as useful for catching terrorists, then we had better *judge* it based on how many terrorists we catch -- NOT whether we have each been harmed by it. After all, a law that does nothing is a useless law wasting space on the shelves of law libraries across America, continuing to displace liberty in the name of security.

    Indeed, true liberty is a lawyer's empty bookshelf.


    And if the PATRIOT Act has been unsuccessful in catching terrorists, then the law has failed and we damn well had better repeal it for freedom's sake (and then proceed to find a better solution to the terrorist problem).

    Look, just because the law hasn't affected somebody *yet* doesn't mean it *never* will. Take the tax cuts of the Reagan era -- it wasn't a week before Democrats were saying "OMG, it's not working!" But the process isn't that fast -- and in the end, the tax cuts worked.

    So too will it be with the PATRIOT Act -- we may not have each been severely violated by it yet, but it is likely we will, sooner or later -- just like the DMCA. Therein lies the problem with the PATRIOT Act, the DMCA, the McCain-Feingold Act, or any other law: sooner or later, it comes back to bite you in the ass. But few people realize it until it's too late...
  • by torpor (458) <ibisum.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @02:55AM (#10708193) Homepage Journal
    .. the States.

    Because of PATRIOT Act, I have completely cut all involvement with America down to whatever interaction happens on the Internet with a few Americans I know, and a close circle of friends I occasionally stay in touch with and see when they travel the world.

    I no longer work with Americans. I no longer travel to the U.S. for business. (trade shows &etc) I'm not taking any chances; the U.S. has become a techno-militaristic fascist state, and no longer represents to me, a member of the so-called "free world", the bastion of freedom and expression that it once did.

    The U.S. is a Cop, and you don't hang with cops if you don't have to. And if you have to, you don't want to.
    • by SpacePunk (17960) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @09:46AM (#10709637) Homepage
      "The U.S. is a Cop, and you don't hang with cops if you don't have to. And if you have to, you don't want to."

      Well, junebug, here's a little life tip for you. It's good to know cops, it's good to be buddies with cops. For several different reasons. You will get a faster response time if the cops know you if you should need their help. You have an 'inside' to the local law enforcement goings-on. Criminal elements will be more likely to stay away from you and yours.

      So, don't hang out with cops if you want. Perhaps you have something to hide, perhaps not.

  • "Not Me?" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noksagt (69097) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @03:40AM (#10708369) Homepage
    A lot of people have been quick to respond that it hasn't affected them. Howthe hell do you knowthat? Many provisions of the PATRIOT Act prevent you from learning that it has been used against you. Just because you haven't had US Marshals knocking on your door doesn't mean you haven't had your library record analyzed. Just because you haven't been detained without charges doesn't mean that more of your tax money isn't going to extra surveilance that is ethically questionable and wouldn't be legal without the PATRIOT Act.
  • by senahj (461846) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @04:32AM (#10708545)
    Nausea at the retreat from the courage and ideals
    that once characterized this nation.

    Once we were the land of the free and the home of the brave.
    Now we're the land of the secretly-surveiled,
    and the home of the anxious-about-safety.

    "When the freedom they wished for most
    was the freedom from responsibility,
    then Athens ceased to be free,
    and never was free again."
    - Edith Hamilton

  • by bdowne01 (30824) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @08:41AM (#10709250) Homepage Journal
    I recently took a trip to New York and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. The PATRIOT act kept that bridge from being blown up. I liked that walk.
  • by iamwahoo2 (594922) on Wednesday November 03, 2004 @09:17AM (#10709455)
    Despite the fact that the USAPATRIOT Act was taken straight out of the "How to Create A Police State Tutorial" there have been some positive impacts. Investigative agencies were clearly trying to do their jobs with their hands tied. The trick is to find a way for them to do their job, while still keeping a proper system of checks and balances in place. The PATRIOTACT probably does a poor job of this, but hopefully in its' new form it will do more to protect citizens rights and provide them the appropriate due process. The patriot act has done a lot to make us safer. The 9/11 hijackers were suspected terrorists were under investigation before the incidents, and had the PATRIOTACT been in place at that time, the plane hijackings would never have occured.

    Of course, any positive effect that the P-ACT may have will in the long term be counteracted by the extreme seeds of hate that the Illegal War in Iraq is creating among Muslims (actually more than just the Muslims, pretty much everyone will hate us soon). In the long haul, this administration will make us LESS safe.

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