The USA PATRIOT Act (commonly known as the Patriot Act) was an Act of the United States Congress, signed into law by President George W. Bush.
USA PATRIOT is a backronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.
The Patriot Act was enacted following the September 11 attacks with the stated goal of dramatically tightening U.S. national security, particularly as it related to foreign terrorism. In general, the act included three main provisions:
Expanded abilities of law enforcement to surveil, including by tapping domestic and international phones;
Eased interagency communication to allow federal agencies to more effectively use all available resources in counterterrorism efforts; and
Increased penalties for terrorism crimes and an expanded list of activities which would qualify someone to be charged with terrorism.
The surveillance powers of the Patriot Act needed renewal by March 15, 2020, and after it expired, the U.S. Senate approved an amended version of the bill. After President Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill, the House of Representatives issued an indefinite postponement of the vote to pass the Senate version of the bill; as of December 2020, the Patriot Act remains expired.