Let me begin by clarifying something we all seem to have forgotten - or perhaps never knew. The "Patriot Act" is accurately called the following: the US PATRIOT ACT which is a cleverly if contorted distillation of the following: Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.
What bent, cynical staffer thought that one up?
To get to the point the correctly referenced U.S.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act is being amended. Here's the scoop from lifehacker.com. in its entirety, which begins like this:
"You might have heard in the news that “the Patriot Act is expiring.” This isn’t technically true. The Patriot Act, as a whole, is still in effect. There are a lot of parts that are not controversial (or at least, not as controversial) and they will remain in place. However, certain provisions that give the NSA authority to spy on both Americans and foreigners were set to expire. At midnight on Monday, that finally happened. They’re probably going to return, but one thing at a time. Here’s what the provisions in question entail:
- Section 215: Bulk metadata collection:
- Unidentified roving wiretaps:
- Lone wolf warrants:
All of these provisions (as well as many others) have been set to expire multiple times over the last decade, but Congress and the President(s) have ultimately decided to extend the programs repeatedly until now. While some in Congress have tried to prevent reauthorization or tweak the law, all those attempts have failed. This time around, for the first time Congress has allowed the above provisions to expire, which means the opposition is getting somewhere. They’ll likely be back, but with a few key limitations.
Those limitations came in the form of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill with an acronym so silly it sounds like Marvel made it up.(my emphasis - they've done it again!) In its current form, the bill makes some important changes to the Patriot Act, but most privacy groups such as the EFF and the ACLU don’t think it’s enough."