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-   -   Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them (http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1377083)

Sevanston 03-15-2013 07:31 PM

Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them
 
In a follow up to the events described here:
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/201...ecom-over-nsl/

Quote:

NSLs are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, credit companies, financial institutions and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, websites visited and more.

NSLs are a powerful tool because they do not require court approval, and they come with a built-in gag order, preventing recipients from disclosing to anyone that they have even received an NSL. An FBI agent looking into a possible anti-terrorism case can self-issue an NSL to a credit bureau, ISP or phone company with only the sign-off of the Special Agent in Charge of their office. The FBI has to merely assert that the information is “relevant” to an investigation into international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

...

An FBI agent could give a telecom a name or a phone number, for example, and ask for the numbers and identities of anyone who has communicated with that person. “They’re asking for association information – who do you hang out with, who do you communicate with, [in order] to get information about previously unknown people.
The feds have been issuing these NSLs more and more since at least 2003, because the Patriot Act greatly expanded their power to issue such requests. The legality of the requests hasn't ever been through a trial until now:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/201...onstitutional/

Quote:

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs across the board, in a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A big win for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the apparently-anonymous telecom plaintiff today. I'm sure it will be appealed, but I'm glad that it was struck down in such a complete way.

Bruise Bros 2426 03-16-2013 02:38 AM

Very interesting. A big win, indeed. Unfortunately, the scoreboard is still extremely lopsided:

The State: 10,000,000,000
The People: 10

Federal surveillance has risen sharply under the Obama Administration. Remember when he said was going to repeal the Patriot Act? :lol:

theotis77 03-16-2013 07:11 AM

It will be upheld in the 9th Circuit, most likely. But when it reaches the SC? The current SC seems to have a fairly strong authoritarian bent, so all bets are off at that point.

Puck 03-16-2013 07:42 AM

The California tech community has really got on the bandwagon on this after the Aaron Swartz suicide. Not surprising the link is Wired.com. The tech publications are all over this today. He was a beloved open source tech geek who's life went to hell after receiving a National Security letter. The kid had a hell of a time defending himself with a gag order around his mouth.

The libertarian Electronic Frontier Foundation has done yeoman's work on this. Libertarian economic jargon aside, this is one area libertarians really do stand up well IMHO.

Bird Law 03-17-2013 12:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theotis77 (Post 61751379)
It will be upheld in the 9th Circuit, most likely. But when it reaches the SC? The current SC seems to have a fairly strong authoritarian bent, so all bets are off at that point.

I see the SCOTUS not fully overturning the decision if the 9th affirms. I could see a partial overturn.


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