Patriot acts ?

I’m just starting to read up on the patriot acts and I am confused about them.

What is the current status?

Which clauses are legitimate and useful in dealing with terrorism and which are only to take away civil liberties and increase the power of the government?

Can they only be applied when investigating terrorism?

I am finding lots of articles expressing opposition to the acts, but I’m having trouble finding a good source to fill me in on all the background info.

I’m sure this was probably disscussed here before but I was hoping to be able to ask some questions this time.

USA Patriot Act (Pub.L. 107-56): To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes. Signed into law on Oct. 26, 2001 - [H.R. 3162] TEXT | PDF