Patriot Act passed

Political cartoon featuring Uncle Sam weighing the benefits of privacy and security.

The Patriot Act, hastily passed after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, was a law in the United States. It granted the government increased surveillance powers to investigate and stop terrorism. The Act made it easier for the government to spy on phone calls, emails, and personal records without a usual court order. Wiretaps were expanded to include addressing and routing information to allow surveillance of packet switched networks of internet and mobile data traffic. Some thought it helped keep the country safe, while others worried the measure infringed on civil liberties and invaded personal privacy.

Explore More