Surveillance Under the Patriot Act

Following up on an infographic timeline of the Patriot Act, the ACLU publishes “Surveillance Under the Patriot Act,” providing evidence that the Patriot Act is often used for anything but terrorism investigations.

Surveillance Under the Patriot Act

Tomorrow, October 26th, will mark 10 years of Americans living under the Patiot Act, one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever sped through the U.S. Congress and signed into law by a president.

As the ACLU states, the Patriot Act was “[h]astily passed 45 days after 9/11 in the name of national security” and was “the first of many changes to surveillance laws that made it easier for the government to spy on ordinary Americans by expanding the authority to monitor phone and email communications, collect bank and credit reporting records, and track the activity of innocent Americans on the Internet. While most Americans think it was created to catch terrorists, the Patriot Act actually turns regular citizens into suspects.”

The ACLU’s latest infographic “Surveillance Under the Patriot Act” organizes a few Patriot Act procedures and statistics in an easy-to-understand infographic, starting with National Security Letters (NSLs).

NSLs are issued by the FBI without a judge’s approval in order to obtain an individual’s personal information, including phone records, computer records, credit history and banking history.

Of the 192,499 NSLs issued between 2003 and 2006, only one led to a terror conviction, according to In “Counterterrorism Since 9/11,” written by Nick Adams, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (available on, the conviction would have occurred without the Patriot Act.

Have a look at the infographic below.

Surveillance Under the Patriot Act