your past should make you sensitive and you are right to point out what you see.
the patriot act itself was not as big a deal as many wanted to make it. very little was new in it. it was done legislatively so it was subject not only to oversight, but to court challenge. it also had a sunset provision and provisions for periodic review.
far worse than the patriot act was the creation of homeland security. congress did that over the objections of the WH.
if the patriot act did one thing that was potentially dangerous, it was that it gave some latitude to law enforcement in when and how to get warrants, and in the ability to keep things secret.
those two things, in the wrong hands, lead to what we now may have. if you read the act itself, you can see the merit in these provision. when you look at the application in the wrong hands, you can see the disaster. but isn't that true of all laws?
the problem is not with laws usually. it is with those tasked with enforcing and interpreting those laws. we control who we have put in office...or, we did....we might not anymore.
if you want to fix this, you strip the feds of all powers and duties not in the constitution. that won't happen. to many people want to much stuff. they'd rather be spied on than lose the goodies.