Judge rules that FBI’s NSLs violate US Constitution’s first amendment

A federal district judge ruled last week that the FBI’s National Security Letters (NSLs) are unconstitutional. NSLs request that entities such as telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, and credit bureaus provide to the FBI subscriber information including subscribers’ private communications. The most controversial aspect of NSLs is their requirement that a recipient of an NSL not reveal to anyone that they’d received the NSL.

NSL Kenneth Sutton
Click for NSL PDF
I first wrote about NSLs last year (Privacy vs Security, 21st Century style) when an unnamed phone company said “No” to a NSL that they had received from the FBI. The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) defended the unnamed phone company against a lawsuit that was brought by the Justice Department.

Forbes calls the ruling “a landmark court victory for privacy advocates” in an article titled Here’s The Judge’s Order Banning The FBI’s Secret Requests For Companies’ User Data. The Forbes article speculates about the identity of the unnamed phone company.

Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ends with

The Court concludes that the nondisclosure provision . . . violates the First Amendment and the separation of powers principles. The Government is therefore enjoined from issuing NSLs . . . or from enforcing the nondisclosure provision in this or any other case.

The government has 90 days to appeal her decision.

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s