ACLU: Will the House protect your privacy?

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We've got another big chance to end Patriot Act abuses--but we have to act fast.

The Senate Judiciary Committee had the opportunity to pass legislation to rein in a bill that has become a symbol of out-of-control government invasions of your privacy. They failed--approving a bill that does little to curtail the sweeping powers embedded in the Patriot Act.

That's why we must do everything we can to ensure that the House of Representatives passes a stronger bill--one that can lead to genuine reform of the deeply-flawed Patriot Act.

Act right now. Ask your representative to co-sponsor the USA Patriot Amendments Act of 2009.

Three Patriot Act provisions are set to expire on December 31, 2009. We have to seize this chance to demand that Congress put an end to the government's unchecked spying powers and ensure that innocent Americans' private information will remain just that--private.

The USA Patriot Amendments Act of 2009 protects constitutional speech and privacy rights by:

* Amending the national security letter statute to ensure that the government obtains financial, communication and credit records only of people believed to be terrorists or spies;

* Requiring the government to convince a court that a national security gag order is necessary;

* Terminating the "lone wolf" authority that permits the government to spy on people who are not part of a terrorist organization; and

* Ensuring that the so-called "library records provision" does not authorize collection of library and bookstore records if they contain information on the patron.

As you can imagine, the bill is not perfect. It leaves the Patriot Act's so-called "material support" provision intact, permitting prosecution of those who work with or for charities that give humanitarian aid in good faith to war-torn countries. We're asking Members of Congress to add a provision that would limit prosecution to those who actually intend to support terrorist-oriented actions.

Please ask your representative to co-sponsor the USA Patriot Amendments Act of 2009.

As an ACLU lobbyist, I've worked to end the dangerous ways that the Patriot Act curtails your freedom for more than six years. I can say first-hand how much your emails matter if we are to pass genuine Patriot Act reforms.

Thanks so much for taking action today.

Sincerely,

Michelle Richardson
Legislative Counsel
American Civil Liberties Union