CNET News.blog: Patriot Act’s technology-related sections to be scrutinized. Declan McCullagh posts a brief summary to the three sections in question, all of which are subject to the “sunset” provisions mercifully contained in the original act. Section 209 concerns the rules for police access to voicemail stored on a provider’s system; 217 makes it easier for law enforcement to assist computer system owners in monitoring unauthorized intrusions; and 220 allows search warrants for locations anywhere in the country to be issued from the district where the crime occurs.
Declan points to a very cogent debate on 209 and 220 between Jim Dempsey and Orin Kerr, which boils down to: the need for some of the changes in these sections are clear to bring the law into the electronic world, but so is the need for extension of constitutional checks and balances on these new powers. Kerr suggests that including a suppression remedy (ensuring that improperly obtained evidence is suppressed in subsequent proceedings); extending civil action and administrative discipline guidelines to ensure that emergency exceptions are not abused; and finally some concern about how users should be notified if their electronic records are searched.