The intent was to review the USA PATRIOT Act to make sure it does not “inappropriately undermine civil liberties.” Its name, as described in Sec. 2, No. 1, refers to Benjamin Franklin‘s famous quote, “Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Civil liberties are personal guarantees and freedoms that the government cannot abridge, either by law or by judicial interpretation. Though the scope of the term differs amongst various countries, some examples of civil liberties include the freedom from torture,freedom from forced disappearance, freedom of conscience, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to security and liberty, freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment under the law anddue process, the right to a fair trial, and the right to life. Other civil liberties include the right to own property, the right to defend oneself, and the right to bodily integrity. Within the distinctions between civil liberties and other types of liberty, distinctions exist between positive liberty/positive rights and negative liberty/negative rights.