Patriot Act Fix: Details of 'Safe Act'

We support H.R. 1709, the “Security and Freedom Ensured Act of 2003” also referred to as the “SAFE Act,” introduced to cut back on excess surveillance powers authroized in the Patriot Act, which have made it easier for law enforcement agencies to monitor the innocent activities of American citizens with minimal or no judicial oversight. The bill would:

  • Place reasonable limitations on the government’s authority to obtain roving wiretaps under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 by requiring that the warrant identify either the target of the wiretap or the place to be wiretapped an by requiring that surveillance be conducted only when the suspect is present at the place to be wiretapped.
  • Impose reasonable limits on the government’s ability to obtain sneak and peak warrants for physical evidence by limiting the instances when a court can authorize such warrants, set a reasonable time for notification of the covert search.
  • Provide privacy protections for library, bookseller and other personal records under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 by requiring that the government specify that there are specific and articulable facts giving rise believe that the person to whom the records relate is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power and requiring that a court must find that there are such specific and articulable facts before a subpoena may be issued.
  • Provide privacy protections for computer users at libraries under national security authority by excluding libraries for the reach of Title 18 U.S.C. § 2709.
  • Amend Section 224 of the PATRIOT Act to sunset Sections 213 (sneak and peak warrants), 216 (application of pen registers and trap and trace devices to electronic communications), 219 (single-jurisdiction, nationwide search warrants for terrorism), and 505 (national security letters) on December 31, 2005.

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