SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s called the Patriot Act, and it consists of surveillance laws used against spies and potential terrorists. However, it also empowers the government to collect bulk data on citizens in the United States.
After 14-years, one of its most controversial provisions, Section 215, will expire at exactly 12:01 Monday morning, unless Congress chooses to renew it.
If Congress doesn’t compromise Sunday, key parts of the law will expire. One part is controversial: the collection of domestic phone records in the United States. That’s why some Americans, including Chicopee resident Denis Moroney, hope it’s not renewed. “How do I feel about it? I think it’s an invasion of our privacy, but I think with all of the technology and communication now, it’s just something that’s going to be in the future unfortunately,” she said.
Connecticut resident Nancy Osgood told 22News she also thinks the government is overstepping their boundaries, but at the same time, does believe the law is necessary to fight against terrorism. “I’m not happy with all of the surveillance, I think there’s too much invasion of privacy, and I don’t think it’s necessary. I’d like to see it changed, but I do think we have to be vigilant,” she said.
Section 206 would also expire, which allows the FBI to collect data on non-U.S. suspects who aren’t already linked to foreign governments or terrorist groups. However, the FBI hasn’t been able to point out any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked because of the Patriot Act, a reason Easthampton resident Brandon St. Hilaire thinks the law needs to be reformed. “I mean it is an invasion of privacy, and if they don’t have the evidence to back up the claims there is no point to renew it. It always kind of seemed like a violation of the Fourth Amendment,” he said.
The Obama Administration says that if the provisions aren’t renewed, the U.S. could be more vulnerable to an attack.