Freedom and safety are two ideals that American citizens value greatly; however, the balance between privacy and security determines whether or not both can be achieved in a reasonable manner. Security and privacy are not mutually exclusive; however, they tend to exhibit an inverse correlation with regards to maintaining individual liberties. Security and privacy are highly beneficial, but when one is given too much weight, the other most often suffers. When the United States citizens are given too much privacy through regulations, the citizens risk their well-being by not allowing the government the ability to prevent dangerous activities being done by criminals. Citizens are unable to defend themselves against foreign and domestic threats of terrorism that affect large amounts of people such as bombings in public settings; however, the federal government can help to prevent such attacks in public settings through surveillance of public areas and monitoring of internet and intracellular communications. When the United States federal government is given too much discretion in security powers through legislation, citizens are at risk of losing their civil rights granted in the Bill of Rights and in Supreme Court cases. The United States of America has had a dangerous imbalance of power in favor of national security since the adoption of the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, and the imbalance has continued to the present even after the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act in 2015. This thesis will be a comparative analysis of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 to the USA FREEDOM Act of 2015. This thesis will show what specific powers are granted through provisions of the acts, whether or not the provisions are unconstitutional, how the privacy and security of American citizens will change due to the provisions in the USA FREEDOM Act, and suggestions for how the United States federal government can continue to tilt the balance between security and liberty to ensure more protection for civil liberties and a decrease in national security powers. The suggestions will include three options for gaining the protection of civil liberties and the elimination of certain national security powers and the options are through Supreme Court cases on national security laws pertaining to individual cases or states, Congress passing concurring minor bills with the proposed plan to fully repeal granted national security powers without disturbing congressional alliances on other measures, and Congress passing a single act called the State Surveillance Repeal Act in order to fully repeal the USA PATRIOT Act provisions that would still be in effect after the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act.


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Thesis Completion





Slaughter, David B.


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Legal Studies

Degree Program

Legal Studies


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Legal Studies Commons