• United States



by Dave Gradijan

Senate Votes to Add Patriot Act Safeguards

Mar 01, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate approved a White House-supported bill that would increase the Patriot Act’s civil liberties safeguards, paving the way for the act’s renewal, Reuters reports via Yahoo News.

The Patriot Act was enacted by President Bush just after 9/11 as part of his war on terrorism, and it’s been controversial because of the extended search and surveillance authorities it granted to federal agencies.

The Senate vote came in 95-4, in favor of the bill, Reuters reports, and it was sent to the House of Representatives for its approval.

Later this week, the Senate was expected to pass a House-approved bill, making permanent 14 provisions that were set to expire and extending two others, Reuters reports.

Sixteen Patriot Act provisions were temporarily extended last year, so that Congress and the White House could come to a resolution in the security vs. privacy debate, according to Reuters.

Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.), the approved bill’s chief sponsor, said the bill was a step in the right direction.

“I think in this case the legislation represents a substantial step forward,” he said.

According to Reuters, the following changes would be made to the Patriot Act if the bill is passed:

-Traditional libraries would not have to comply with National Security Letters (NSL), federal subpoenas without a judge’s approval.

-A previous requirement of the act that said people who received NSLs had to provide the Federal Bureau of Investigation with their attorney’s name would be removed.

-People would be able to challenge gag orders when subpoenaed for personal information, but they’d have to wait a year to do so.

For related coverage, read Patriot Act Roadshow.

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