Patriot Act

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Definition of 'Patriot Act'

The Patriot Act is an act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The act has been controversial since its passage, with critics arguing that it has given the government too much power in the name of national security.

The Patriot Act has a wide range of provisions, including:

* Increased surveillance powers for law enforcement agencies, including the ability to wiretap phones and emails without a warrant, and to search records without a court order.
* New powers for the government to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists.
* Increased penalties for terrorism-related crimes.
* Creation of a new Department of Homeland Security.

The Patriot Act has been used by law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute a number of terrorism-related crimes. However, it has also been criticized for its potential for abuse, and for its impact on civil liberties.

In 2015, the USA Freedom Act was passed, which made some changes to the Patriot Act. The USA Freedom Act reduced the government's ability to collect data on Americans without a warrant, and it also created a new privacy advocate position within the Department of Justice.

The Patriot Act remains a controversial law, and it is likely to continue to be debated for years to come.

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