Why was the USA Patriot Act of 2001 implemented?
The devastating attacks on 9/11 were an unfortunate wake-up call for our nation that proved how truly defenseless we were at the time. It was not surprising that many thought we were protected from risks such as terrorist threats due to our country’s immense military budget and geographical location. However, our most advanced security policies and procedures fell to a simple box cutter. Since the attacks, we have done what America is known for, learning from our mistakes, and rising from the ashes, paving the way for the current high-level state of security that the U.S. currently has implemented.
Before 9/11, we, as a country, had no idea of the reach of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and did not even have to take our shoes off when going through airport security. Today, practically every aspect of surveillance, border, travel, and Internet security has been drastically increased, revised, and reinforced to usher in a new era of national defense.
After 9/11, the U.S. intelligence program exploded in funding, sophistication, and usage. The Patriot Act was one of the most notable programs launched, increasing the government’s ability to use the wide-range of technology-based detection, and recording systems. By removing much of the ‘yellow tape’ that surrounded our most controversial surveillance systems, we could turn our attention from break-fixes to preventing future terrorist attacks, thus revolutionizing our security tactics from reactive to preventive.
While I am a strong supporter and advocate for human rights and privacy, both on and off the Internet, I honestly do not mind relinquishing some of my privacy if it means that our government and law enforcement agencies can have greater tools to hunt and stop human traffickers and terrorists. I must say, I am one to agree with some of the rather humorous conspiracy theories out regarding what the government and large corporations do with our data, however, I personally feel that I can somewhat ‘take one for the team’ if it means another child does not go missing or have a Christmas where their father is fighting in a war thousands of miles away.
Otero, A. R. (2019). Information Technology Environment and IT Audit. In Legislation Relevant to Information Technology (Fifth ed., pp. 31-58). Boca Raton, Florida: CRS Press.
Sensenbrenner, J. F. (2001, October 26). H.R.3162 – 107th Congress (2001-2002): Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001. Retrieved December 7, 2020, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/3162.