Soon after I began researching the USA Patriot Act I realized that is quite a controversial subject. The debate and discussion following my presentation further proved this point.
The USA Patriot Act was passed approximately six weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It made its way through Congress promptly and did not seem to be analyzed very closely by those who voted on it. One of my classmates brought up the fact that many of the bills and acts that are voted on by the U.S. Congress are probably not read as closely as American citizens would hope. While this is very relevant, it does not lessen the impact that impulse had on the Patriot Act. When the Bush Administration first introduced the act to Congress, they asked that there be no hearings held on it.
A thought provoking question pertaining to whether or not the intelligence agencies used certain avenues of the internet to track terrorists before the USA Patriot Act was also asked. This student stated that the act simply made these actions “admissible in court.”
One student expressed that the USA Patriot act did not bring up many concerns in their mind. If I am not doing anything wrong, why should I be worried? This is the opinion of many Americans. However the Fourth Amendment pertains to every American citizen and it is a sad reality that many Americans, especially immigrants, have had their personal privacy invaded since the Patriot Act has been enforced.
While the USA Patriot Act does bring up many questions of its own it also aids us in answering the question, “Who controls/monitors the media?” In many aspects the government can control and monitor our uses of the media. We as Americans have the opportunity to choose our government officials, therefore, we do have some say in how the government manages mass media. My fellow presenters further demonstrated how corporations and citizens influence the media. It was made evident that there is no “one” group or person that has complete control over the media.
The USA Patriot Act was initially passed to provide law enforcement agencies with up to date, technological tools to help protect America. However, it is obvious that many personal privacy concerns have been derived from this act.
If you are interested in learning more there is a series of interesting videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6jD_jySiwg.