#IfThePatriotActExpires scary pictures flood Twitter ahead of deadline

​While American law enforcement and intelligence communities raise concerns over the expected expiration this weekend of surveillance powers granted through the Patriot Act, social media have drawn apocalyptical pictures mocking the fears.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act will sunset on June 1 unless lawmakers can agree to reauthorize that part of the counterterrorism law before Sunday evening. Using hashtag #IfThePatriotExpires Twitter users have taken to PhotoShop this week to portray Hollywood blockbuster style Orwellian pictures.

If lawmakers fail to reach a deal as expected, investigators in the United States will no longer be able to collect the telephone records in bulk of millions of Americans on a regular basis—a previously secret operation revealed by Edward Snowden, a former government contractor, nearly two years ago.

Proponents of Section 215 powers call the dragnet phone surveillance a crucial counterterrorism tool. One administration official compared the bill’s expiration with playing “national security Russian roulette.”

Critics from the ranks of Congress, the White House and Department of Justice say the bill violates privacy. Rand Paul, the most vocal critic among lawmakers, got his share of Twitter appearances.