USA Patriot Act (USAPA)

The PATRIOT (Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act of 2001 was introduced in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the U.S. World Trade Center of 11 September 2001.

It was originally introduced as the Anti-Terrorism Act, but met with such stiff opposition that it was slightly modified.

“The USA Patriot Act obviously had many dimensions, but it included some very important new rules about the government’s access to information about individual users on the Internet. For example, in authorizing the government to gather information about electronic mail sent or received by individuals, Congress said that investigators don’t need to prove probable cause that the targeted person has committed or is about to commit a crime. The law also lowered the standards for surveillance of foreign nationals and made some computer crimes into terrorism offenses. These rules are not only important in themselves, but they have implications for other government efforts to extend regulation to the Internet.”

Pamela Samuelson,
UC Berkeley Law School, as quoted in NY Times,
Dec. 28, 2001

See also…

Internet Law Forum

International Law Forum