updated 4/5/2005 11:34:38 AM ET 2005-04-05T15:34:38

Several provisions of the USA Patriot Act expire on Jan. 1, 2006, if not renewed by Congress. The Congressional Research Service provided this summary of each:

Section 201 — Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to terrorism.

Section 202 — Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses.

Subsection 203(b) — Permits the sharing of grand jury information that involves foreign intelligence or counterintelligence with federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security officials.

Subsection 203(d) — Gives foreign intelligence or counterintelligence officers the ability to share foreign intelligence information obtained as part of a criminal investigation with law enforcement.

Section 204 — Makes clear that nothing in the law regarding pen registers — an electronic device which records all numbers dialed from a particular phone line — stops the government’s ability to obtain foreign intelligence information.

Section 206 — Allows federal officials to issue roving “John Doe” wiretaps for spy and anti-terrorism investigations.

Section 207 — Increases the amount of time that federal officials can watch people they suspect are spies or terrorists.

Section 209 — Permits the seizure of voicemail messages under a warrant.

Section 212 — Permits ISP (Internet service providers) and other electronic communication and remote computing service providers to hand over records and e-mails to federal officials in emergency situations.

Section 214 — Allows use of a pen register or trap and trace devices — a device records the originating phone numbers of all incoming calls on a particular phone line — in international terrorism or spy investigations.

Section 215 — Authorizes federal officials to obtain “tangible items” like business records — including those from libraries and bookstores —for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

Section 217 — Makes it lawful to intercept the wire or electronic communication of a computer hacker or intruder in certain circumstances.

Section 218 — Allows federal officials to wiretap or watch suspects if foreign intelligence gathering is a “significant purpose” for seeking a FISA (Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act) order. The pre-Patriot Act standard said they could ask for the surveillance only if it was “the” sole or main purpose.

Section 220 — Provides for nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence.

Section 223 — Amends the federal criminal code to provide for administrative discipline of federal officers or employees who violate prohibitions against unauthorized disclosures of information gathered under this act.

Section 225 — Amends FISA to prohibit lawsuits against people or companies that provide information to federal officials for a terrorism investigation.

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