Freedom is not free; but how much freedom are citizens willing to compromise for safety? Although tough legislations and new security measures contribute to protecting citizens, the Patriot Act is clearly unlawful and reduces many of the freedoms of American citizens. In a country where there are supposed to be checks and balances in the passing of legislation, a bill that violates multiple Bill of Rights articles, passed into law. The Patriot Act, created through the auspices of Congress and signed into law by the president of the United States, violates the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment. Analyzing and comparing Bill of Rights articles with Patriot Act stipulations conveys a comprehensive message that the Patriot Act is unconstitutional.
The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights guarantees citizens of The United States the following: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assembly and petition. Of course, each right has specific guidelines and there are exceptions to the rule. Under the freedom of speech clause, a citizen has the right to speak their mind as long as the message conveyed does not pose a safety threat to the public, distract motorist's traffic patterns, or disturb hospital zones via loudspeaker (Ferdico 14-12). So, how does the Patriot Act distort citizen's rights under the First Amendment? .
The Patriot Act violates the First Amendment freedom of speech clause. Under the Patriot Act, if a government agency wants to conduct an online investigation on a citizen without probable cause, they deliver "national security letters (NSLs) " to internet service providers (ISPs) and retrieve communication history of the individual. This specifically alone does not violate the First Amendment. However, if an ISP reveals to an individual that they are under investigation, the ISP is then subject to prosecution (Garlinger 1105-1147).