ACLU sues Justice, FBI over expanded surveillance powers

| 8/4/2003

The American Civil Liberties Union July 30 sued the Justice Department and FBI over the USA PATRIOT Act, which gives law enforcement easier access to a range of business records, including those of libraries, bookstores and hospitals.

In press conferences in Detroit, ACLU officials released the complaint. Because the section in question expanded the scope of business records accessible by police and loosened the standards for them to obtain them, the ACLU argues that the law violates the Constitution's bar on unreasonable searches and seizures.

"Ordinary Americans should not have to worry that the FBI is rifling through their medical records, seizing their personal papers, or forcing charities and advocacy groups to divulge membership lists," Ann Beeson, associate legal director of the ACLU, said in a statement.