Internet Surveillance Law after the USA Patriot Act: The Big Brother that Isn't
69 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2002 Last revised: 25 Mar 2015
This article argues that the common wisdom on the USA Patriot Act is wrong. Far from being a significant expansion of law enforcement powers online, the Patriot Act actually changed Internet surveillance law in only minor ways and added several key privacy protections. The article focuses on three specific provisions of the Patriot Act: the provision applying the pen register law to the Internet, the provisions relating to Carnivore, and the new computer trespasser exception to the Wiretap Act. By explaining the basic framework of surveillance law and applying it to the Patriot Act, the author shows how the Internet surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act updated the law in ways that both law enforcement and civil libertarians should appreciate.
JEL Classification: K14, K30, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation