FL Federal Judge: Patriot Act Doesn’t Allow Porn Searches

Print

In the past two years, a federal judge in Orlando has twice rejected Patriot Act search warrants in child-pornography cases and denied agents the power to access Web data in other states, says the Orlando Sentinel. U.S. Magistrate James Glazebrook ruled that Congress did not authorize him to sign warrants for Internet records across state lines in cases that did not involve terrorism or domestic security. In both cases, district judges have overruled Glazebrook, giving federal authorities here permission to seek records from Yahoo Inc. and ArcSoft Inc., both based in California.

Legal precedent is scarce and debate on the subject is limited because warrant applications are filed under seal and rarely surface. Legal experts and observers of the Patriot Act say it’s a gray area that needs clarification. “The language is ambiguous, which is what happens when legislation is drafted in haste,” said James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology in Washington. “There is no doubt that the Justice Department used the crisis atmosphere following the 9-11 attacks to obtain expansions in government power that had nothing to do with terrorism.” Federal prosecutors disagree. “This is an example of the positive use of the Patriot Act,” said Assistant U.S Attorney Cynthia Hawkins. “This change was very helpful to law enforcement yet did not infringe on individual rights.”

Link: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-patriotact12_106mar12,0,4372809.story?coll=o

Comments are closed.