With President Obama in Europe, an "autopen" has been assigned the dubious task of continuing the legacy of constitutional excesses of law, and civil rights violations.
While most of the provisions of the PATRIOT Act are permanent law (a sad fact indeed), the most controversial facets, and the ones most vulnerable to abuse and violation of the Constitution, are subject to periodic review. This includes the following three provisions: roving wiretaps that follow targets within US borders and may pick up civilian information, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance on "lone wolves"; individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities but not officially affiliated with any extremist group.
All three provisions have been re-approved by the autopen.
This appears to be the first time that a robot has been used to sign a law into application, and it appears to set a precedent that is still in a legal gray zone.
I for one do not welcome our new civil-rights, warrentless wiretapping overlords.