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Business groups call for Patriot Act limits

[JURIST] Six of the most prominent American business groups voiced their concerns over the USA PATRIOT Act [text] to Congress Wednesday, saying the law makes it too simple for the government to obtain confidential business records. The groups wrote a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] Chairman Arlen Specter saying, "Confidential files — records about our customers or our employees, as well as our trade secrets and other proprietary information — can too easily be obtained and disseminated under investigative powers expanded by the Patriot Act. These new powers lack sufficient checks and balances." The business groups favor amendments to the act which would require investigators to explain the link between requested information and suspected terrorists, and would enable businesses to challenge the requests in court. The US Chamber of Commerce [group website], the National Association of Manufacturers [group website], and the National Association of Realtors [group website] were among the groups which signed the letter. Both houses of Congress are preparing to negotiate [JURIST report] whether to extend controversial provisions of the act which expire at the end of the year. AP has more.

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