Trump should drop efforts to allow Patriot Act snooping on citizens and immigrants

The Fourth Amendment protects the rights of the people from unreasonable searches and seizures of property.

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President Donald Trump at a rally Aug. 24 in Charleston, West Virginia. | Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump wants to reauthorize Section 215 of the U.S. Patriot Act giving the National Security Agency power to eavesdrop on personal data of both protesters and minorities without court-approved warrants.

This personal data includes: phone calls, emails, smartphone data, photos, social media, iCloud storage and log in location. Some personal data known as meta-data shows who created the file, date, time, file size and image resolution.

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Originally, Section 215 was authorized to eavesdrop on Americans, immigrants and foreigners in the U.S., either directly or indirectly linked to terrorist activity without obtaining a warrant after 9/11.

The Patriot Act authorized by President George W. Bush a month after 9/11 expanded search and surveillance powers of both federal law-enforcement and intelligence agencies.

But the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act imposes limits on how intelligence is gathered in the U.S. All intelligence officials have to do in order to obtain a surveillance warrant is show probable cause that someone might be an agent of a foreign power including a terrorist group.

This can be done through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The FISC was setup after widespread abuses of American intelligence agencies on both antiwar and civil rights activists during the 70s. These abuses led to the passage of the FISA.

But the FISC also stated that national security interests should not overlook the Fourth Amendment. This Amendment protects the rights of the people from both unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the U.S. government.

And the Fourth Amendment adds that no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause. It now remains to be seen whether Trump will uphold our Fourth Amendment rights?

Abrar Qureshi, Willowbrook

Correction: A letter to the editor published in Tuesday’s print edition of the Sun-Times, and online, incorrectly stated that lawyer Kelly Smith-Haley is a lobbyist for ComEd. She is not.

City business permits for marijuana vendors is fair move

The Illinois Cannabis Act gave wide discretion to municipal districts to augment their taxing authority. These districts should give strong consideration to social equity in developing their ordinances.

For example, it is inherently unfair to require cannabis retailers to have possession of real property. Consider that countless city vendors, such as the peanut salesmen outside Wrigley Field, aren’t so encumbered.

Offering cannabis vendors city business permits on those same terms is only fair. It will allow these vendors to legitimately obtain and sell their merchandise under reasonable restrictions, be subject to police and public health enforcement and form a basis for taxing their revenues.

I hope Mayor Lori Lightfoot takes the lead to set the template for other municipalities.

Michael Brown, Washington Heights

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