With major provisions of the surveillance-authorizing USA Patriot Act set to expire at midnight on Monday, anonymous government officials are using the New York Times to fear-monger about the impact expiration could have on national security. Privacy activists who want the provisions to expire, meanwhile, have launched a counteroffensive on Twitter.
#IfThePatriotActExpires appears to be the brainchild of activist Benjamin Marlin, who was the first person to use the hashtag early Thursday morning.
#IfThePatriotActExpires pic.twitter.com/1AWbPB45Ti— Benjamin M. (@BenjaminM1019) May 28, 2015
The phrase has since been picked up by civil-liberties groups mocking the government’s desperate push for extended spy powers.
So, what will happen #IfThePatriotActExpires, according to Twitter? Well, in the absence of the three specific provisions that are expiring—Section 215, the “roving wiretap” authority, and the “lone wolf” authority—the United States could face any of the following threats…
Demonic hordes from another dimension
Monsters beyond our understanding
#IfThePatriotActExpires pic.twitter.com/mpboxG0KGF— Robert Swartwood (@RobertSwartwood) May 28, 2015
Evildoers straight out of Hollywood
#Ifthepatriotactexpires https://t.co/uSXxKcW1bK— Sarah Jaffe (@sarahljaffe) May 28, 2015
1776, Part Two
#IfThePatriotActExpires The Brits can end the sham "Special Relationship" and get what they've wanted for 200 years. pic.twitter.com/R4RJnM6KPS— Benjamin M. (@BenjaminM1019) May 28, 2015
#ifthepatriotactexpires pic.twitter.com/Il34uLAZc6— derrick (@derrickvanbrose) May 28, 2015
Obviously #IfThePatriotActExpires cc @ggreenwald pic.twitter.com/3iQjybbPjQ— Mohammed Bushra (@mesbushra) May 28, 2015
#IfThePatriotActExpires pic.twitter.com/BwCirIraPB— Séamusín Reilly (@SeamusinReilly) May 28, 2015
As for what will actually happen if the Patriot Act provisions expire—well, it’s probably less than you think.
Photo via Leandro Ucciferri/Twitter