Call To Action

If you are in favor of letting Section 215 of the Patriot Act "sunset" on June 1, please sign petition on this link".

to sign a petition against renewing Patriot Act section 215, use the following link:

Almost 14 years ago, the government passed a law that has been used to
collect information about your most intimate communications. But we finally
have a chance to stop it in the next few weeks.

Congress is set to make a crucial decision about the future of our
government's surveillance powers that will impact everyone in America,
including you. It will decide whether to renew Section 215 of the Patriot Act
or let it die.

Section 215, one of the worst parts of the Patriot Act, is what the NSA
uses to collect virtually all Americans call records including who
called whom, when, and for how long.

Along with two other parts of the law, Section 215 is set to expire on
June 1st but it won't die without a fight. There are still those in
Congress, like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who want to
reauthorize 215 and even extend it for five more years.

Will you join me to tell Congress it's time to let
unconstitutional and unwarranted government surveillance die? Urge Congress
to let Section 215 of the Patriot Act expire - and help restore our

Please share this information

We want a do-nothing Congress!

Well, in at least one way, that is. 

A part of USAPA that threatens the privacy of everyone who seeks help from a mental health professional is scheduled to expire at the end of 2009 - but only if Congress doesn't reauthorize the law.

What you can do:

READ: Banned Librarian for updates:

SIGN: The ACLU petition that goes to Congress or write directly to  your legislators. 
The League of Women Voters can help you find your lawmakers:

JOIN: The PATRIOT Act Action Hub
including these possible actions (links on the website)

   1. Participate in the chat room
   2. Help collaboratively write the Hub's new open letter
   3. Tweet from the Hub's Tweeting points
   4. Join the Hubs Facebook status campaign
   5. Help craft the Hub's "narrative in progress"
   6. Send a Letter to the Editor using the Hub's template

SHARE: The summary below from the ACLU and this website with your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Under the USA [anti]PATRIOT ACT the government can …

1) SEARCH YOUR HOME AND NOT EVEN TELL YOU. The USA PATRIOT Act allows the law enforcement to conduct secret "sneak and peek" searches of your home. Investigators can enter your home or office, take pictures and seize items without informing you that a warrant was issued for a very long time – if ever. (SECTION 213)  

2) COLLECT INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT BOOKS YOU READ, WHAT YOU STUDY, YOUR PURCHASES, YOUR MEDICAL HISTORY [including records of your mental health treatment or psychotherapy!]** AND YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES. The USA PATRIOT Act gives law enforcement broad access to any types of records – educational, medical, financial, sales, library, etc. – without probable cause of a crime. It also prohibits the holders of this information, like librarians, from disclosing that they have produced such records, under the threat of jail time. While a court order is required to obtain the information, the Act requires that a judge rubber stamp such orders. (SECTION 215)   

3) LABEL YOU A "TERRORIST" IF YOU BELONG TO AN ACTIVIST GROUP. The USA PATRIOT Act broadly expands the official definition of terrorism, so many domestic groups that engage in certain types of civil disobedience could very well find themselves labeled as terrorists. (SECTIONS 411, 802)   

4) MONITOR YOUR E-MAILS AND WATCH WHAT INTERNET SITES YOU VISIT. The USA PATRIOT Act permits the government to monitor Internet traffic and e-mail communications on any Internet service provider without probable cause by obtaining detailed "routing" information like a web address. While this provision is supposedly aimed at lawbreakers, it sweeps broadly because e-mails and Internet traffic information of innocent individuals cannot be separated from the activity of targeted individuals. (SECTION 216)  

As we fight the reauthorization of Section 215 once again, let us remain steadfast in our determination to protect mental health privacy in all ways. This includes educating yourself about other privacy issues, especially those related to the electronic storage and transmission of records, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the HITECH Act that is included within the 2009 economic stimulus package. These groups are a start:

5) TAKE AWAY YOUR PROPERTY WITHOUT A HEARING. The USA PATRIOT Act allows the government to seize the assets of an individual or organization without prior notice or hearing if the government says that they have engaged in or are planning an act of "domestic terrorism." Under this law, the government could effectively bankrupt an organization with which it disagrees. (SECTION 806)

6) SPY ON INNOCENT AMERICANS. The USA PATRIOT Act permits a vast array of information gathering on U.S. citizens to be collected and shared with the CIA (and other non-law enforcement officials) without proper judicial oversight or other safeguards. This law effectively puts the CIA back in the business of spying on Americans. (SECTIONS 203 AND 901)

7) PUT IMMIGRANTS IN JAIL INDEFINITELY. The USA PATRIOT Act permits indefinite incarceration of immigrants and other non-citizens without the government having to show that they are, in fact, terrorists. (SECTION 412)

8) WIRETAP YOU UNDER A WARRANT THAT DOESN’T EVEN HAVE YOUR NAME ON IT. The USA PATRIOT Act changes the nature of warrants for wiretaps by requiring judges to approve a wiretap without knowing who is to be tapped nor where it is to be placed. (SECTION 216)

~ ~ ~

** Section 215, among other anti-democratic aspects of the USAPA, poses specific limitations on confidentiality as clinicians are trained to consider it and as clients would typically hear it. The law puts mental health professionals in a deep double ethical bind, because it:
  • requires clinicians to provide client records to the US government if federal agents merely claim, without showing proof or following long-standing due process, that they have legitimate national security concerns, while at the same time as it
  • prohibits clinicians, through a gag order, from telling clients that the government has taken the records.
We have been working for years to educate mental health professionals and the public about this issue.  This is one area where we want a do-nothing Congress.  If Congress does nothing to reauthorize the USAPA, then therapy clients and professionals are protected!