In the panicked aftermath of the September 11th attacks, Congress hurriedly passed a number of anti-terrorism bills with little debate. We were told that these laws were necessary to fight terrorism and keep us safe. But as time has passed and knowledge of the NSA surveillance programs has been made public, more Americans are questioning whether these laws do more harm than good.
The Patriot Act is the most famous of these unconstitutional laws that takes away our liberty under the guise of national security. To say Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave is putting it mildly. Passed just six weeks after the September 11th attacks, it greatly increased the government’s power to spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant. Believe or not, the final bill passed less than 48 hours of being introduced. Does anyone think Congress had time to fully read and properly evaluate the 363-page bill?
The 4th Amendment is pretty clear: government cannot perform unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that the government must obtain a warrant from a judge in order to search private property. The Patriot Act throws this constitutional protection out the window. And this blatant violation of our 4th amendment was passed overwhelmingly.
Under the Patriot Act, the government can conduct warrantless private property without even your notice. A section of the law grants the government the authority to force any company to release private records about their customers. Google could be sharing your Internet browsing history with the FBI. You have no way of knowing and Google is legally prohibited from informing customers!
Your doctor records aren’t even off-limits. Even if an American citizen has done nothing wrong, there is no justification for the government to treat us like criminals. Freedom and privacy go hand in hand.
Patriot Act supporter Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan recently said that, "you can't have your privacy violated if you don't know your privacy is violated.” That’s a ridiculous notion that doesn’t make any sense.
According to dictionary.com, the definition of privacy is, “the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one's private life or affairs.”
Julie Borowski is a Policy Analyst at FreedomWorks, an organization dedicated to lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Her writings on economic policy have appeared in numerous newspapers and online outlets. She is on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition to Reduce Spending and she launched an independent YouTube channel called TokenLibertarianGirl in June 2011.
She was previously selected to be a Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow with the Institute for Humane Studies where she worked at the Center for Competitive Politics. Most recently, she was a government affairs associate at Americans for Tax Reform.
Julie has volunteered for political candidates in Kentucky and in her home state of Maryland. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg State University in May 2010 where she studied political science, economics and international studies. She is now located in Washington, D.C.