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There was a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to renew the U.S.A. Patriot Act yesterday.

ARTICLE 128. The inviolability of the homes of citizens and privacy of correspondence are protected by law.

Sorry, wrong country. Let’s try that again:

Article 55. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the home. No one may, without lawful grounds, enter a home against the will of those residing in it.

Article 56. The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.

D’oh! Okay, let’s try that just one more time:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Got it.

The vote:

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 26

H R 514      2/3 YEA-AND-NAY      8-Feb-2011      7:04 PM

     QUESTION:  On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass

     BILL TITLE: To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011

—- YEAS    277 —

Akin

Carnahan

Emerson

Graves (MO)

Hartzler

Long

Luetkemeyer

—- NAYS    148 —

Clay

Cleaver

Russ Carnahan, what were you thinking? The bill failed by seven votes (needing two thirds to pass in an expedited fashion). It will come up for a “regular” vote later in the session.

The bill:

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 514

To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 26, 2011

Mr. SENSENBRENNER (for himself, Mr. SMITH of Texas, and Mr. ROGERS of Michigan) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Select Committee on Intelligence (Permanent Select), for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.

     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. EXTENSION OF SUNSETS OF PROVISIONS RELATING TO ACCESS TO BUSINESS RECORDS, INDIVIDUAL TERRORISTS AS AGENTS OF FOREIGN POWERS, AND ROVING WIRETAPS.

     (a) USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005- Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-177; 50 U.S.C. 1805 note, 50 U.S.C. 1861 note, and 50 U.S.C. 1862 note) is amended by striking `February 28, 2011′ and inserting `December 8, 2011′.

     (b) Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004- Section 6001(b)(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-458; 118 Stat. 3742; 50 U.S.C. 1801 note) is amended by striking `February 28, 2011′ and inserting `December 8, 2011′.

What does that mean?:

April 18, 2002

CRS Report for Congress

The USA PATRIOT Act: A Sketch [pdf]

….Federal communications privacy law features a three tiered system, erected for the dual purpose of protecting the confidentiality of private telephone, face-to-face, and computer communications while enabling authorities to identify and intercept criminal communications. Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 supplies the first level. It prohibits electronic eavesdropping on telephone conversations, face-to-face conversations, or computer and other forms of electronic communications in most instances. It does, however, give authorities a narrowly defined process for electronic surveillance to be used as a last resort in serious criminal cases. When approved by senior Justice Department officials, law enforcement officers may seek a court order authorizing them to secretly capture conversations concerning any of a statutory list of offenses (predicate offenses). Title III court orders come replete with instructions describing the permissible duration and scope of the surveillance as well as the conversations which may be seized and the efforts to be taken to minimize the seizure of innocent conversations. The court notifies the parties to any conversations seized under the order after the order expires.

Below Title III, the next tier of privacy protection covers telephone records, e-mail held in third party storage, and the like, 18 U.S.C. 2701-2709 (Chapter 121). Here, the law permits law enforcement access, ordinarily pursuant to a warrant or court order or under a subpoena in some cases, but in connection with any criminal investigation and without the extraordinary levels of approval or constraint that mark a Title III interception.

Least demanding and perhaps least intrusive of all is the procedure that governs court orders approving the government’s use of trap and trace devices and pen registers, a kind of secret “caller id.”, which identify the source and destination of calls made to and from a particular telephone, 18 U.S.C. 3121-3127 (Chapter 206). The orders are available based on the government’s certification, rather than a finding of a court, that use of the device is likely to produce information relevant to the investigation of a crime, any crime. The devices record no more than identity of the participants in a telephone conversation, but neither the orders nor the results they produce need ever be revealed to the participants.

The Act modifies the procedures at each of the three levels. It:

– permits pen register and trap and trace orders for electronic communications (e.g., e-mail);

– authorizes nationwide execution of court orders for pen registers, trap and trace devices, and access to stored e-mail or communication records;

– treats stored voice mail like stored e-mail (rather than like telephone conversations);

– permits authorities to intercept communications to and from a trespasser within a computer system (with the permission of the system’s owner);

– adds terrorist and computer crimes to Title III’s predicate offense list;

– reenforces protection for those who help execute Title III, ch. 121, and ch. 206 orders;

– encourages cooperation between law enforcement and foreign intelligence investigators;

– establishes a claim against the U.S. for certain communications privacy viola
tions by government personnel; and

– terminates the authority found in many of these provisions and several of the foreign intelligence amendments with a sunset provision (Dec. 31,2005).

Yeah, apparently that temporary violation of the 4th Amendment is well on its way to becoming permanent.

And those teabaggers and their favored republicans who profess so much concern for the Constitution? It must only extend to keeping affordable health care from poor people.