Judge orders Google to comply with FBI’s secret NSL demands

“A federal judge has ruled that Google must comply with the FBI’s warrantless requests for confidential user data, despite the search company’s arguments that the secret demands are illegal,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET.

“CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco rejected Google’s request to modify or throw out 19 so-called National Security Letters, a warrantless electronic data-gathering technique used by the FBI that does not need a judge’s approval,” McCullagh reports. “Her ruling came after a pair of top FBI officials, including an assistant director, submitted classified affidavits.”

McCullagh reports, “The litigation taking place behind closed doors in Illston’s courtroom — a closed-to-the-public hearing was held on May 10 — could set new ground rules curbing the FBI’s warrantless access to information that Internet and other companies hold on behalf of their users. The FBI issued 192,499 of the demands from 2003 to 2006, and 97 percent of NSLs include a mandatory gag order.”

Read more in the full article here.

45 Comments

    1. The big question is why the gov wants the info. The same way I don’t want them to peek at my imessages, I don’t want them to read my gmail either.

      1. All mobile phones can be cracked open and data is not secure as long as they are ON.
        Security is a relative term and you need skill and time to compromise it.
        I have words that iPhones and other mobile phone can be broken into easily… This was demonstrated in many different public events…
        The question is why we all try to hide info anyway. 😜

    2. They aren’t trying to hide information from the FBI. They are trying to protect their users private information. Just as hopefully Apple and others will do also. But when the government wants something they’ll get it. By hook or crook. But Google and others shouldn’t make it easy for the government to get that information.

    3. The 4th Amendment requires the government to get warrants in order to search our “persons, houses, papers, and effects”. We have a special court, the FISA Court, just for the purpose of issuing warrants on National Security matters. If the FBI would just go to that court and get the warrant then Google has no qualm about turning over the requested info.

      The problem is that the FBI is bypassing the warrant process and just sending letters to Google that have not been vetted by a judge. Obviously the information the FBI is requesting isn’t that important, otherwise they’d’ve gone to get the warrant rather than wasting time litigating silly lawsuits.

      Be happy that Google is actually giving a rat’s ass about your rights and privacy (on something), Verizon and AT&T just hand over gobs of info to the Federal government willy nilly with zero concerns for your rights, thus the so-called AP scandal.

      1. You are one dumb ignorant fuck. The courts have said the NSA action is legal, you assdumb lib. Hope they collar Schmidt, your lapdog, and slap the snot out of him.

        1. re X
          What an amazing pathology this is — so very much hatred — so very little mental and linguistic ability with which to articulate anything beyond “fuck”, “fucktard”, “dumb fuck”, “lib fuck”, “fuck, fuck, fuck”.

    4. It’s called the fourth amendment.

      My big question is why you have such faith in an organization that has a history of dubious behavior, questionable character and poor judgement.

  1. Since 9/11, many rights guaranteed in Constitution have been circumvented and trampled on — rights MUCH more fundamental and important to everyone’s lives that the “right” to own a tool for mass killing. And hardly a squeak. But all the freakout fuss about guns!!!

      1. You have a right to a musket if you are in a WELL REGULATED MILITIA, botvinnik.

        The National Security Letter is a steaming pile of fascist bullshit. The idea that an FBI or other agent of the government can pull a paper out of a desk, put your name on it and present it to you for an essentially unrestricted search without the review of the request by a judge is antithetical to the most basic ideas the founders of this country held.

        Further, the agent does not have to tell you what you are suspect for, on what basis, by whom and you cannot say anything to anyone about it- all at the stroke of a pen by your friendly law enforcement agent.

        1. If the guy that FBI is trying to investigate is a criminal and is threatening your life then what?

          If the guy that FBI is trying to investigate is the head of the Mafia… Then what? Would you go and ask for a warrant before you can prove he is the head of the Mafia?

          The only thing that is similar here is that the Italian Fascist organization investigated and found all the Mafia leaders -without search warrant- and then they invites them to a negotiation… Then they told the Mafioso that they would have to either stop harassing people or they are welcome to leave.

          The mobsters left Italy and now they are here in the US… Some of the amateurs got arrested and even famous… Some others are still around and doing what they used to do and what they are good at. They are now part of the government…

          They are watching you! Smile!

          😄

            1. I’ll see if I can dig it up.
              Meantime, you should stop, jerk.

              The difference?
              I call you are jerk, because you are.
              You call people names because they don’t share your opinion.

            2. re “got that “archival research” done yet”

              It’s VERY slightly unfortunate that I didn’t find that particular example of you being a jerk — “VERY slightly” because you illustrate over and over what a poisonous little toad you are.

            3. hey Seamus! still workin’ on that research? hey, maybe you can get a federal grant from ol’ Obama Messiah for your research project, he uses tax dollars to finance liars all the time!

            4. re “crap opinions that you know to be false”

              Now, that is wonderfully illogical — since my opinion is, quite simply, that you are a petulant, rude, poisonously negative little shit — which you are illustrating clearly on this page, over and over.

    1. Seamus, if you don’t understand the issues surrounding the right to bear arms, you’re either naive or in denial. This constitutional right is essential to maintaining our democracy and protecting us from the government. Moreover, if we loose this fundamental right, what’s next? Free speech? Freedom of the press? Freedom of Religion?

      You can say ‘that won’t happen here’, until it does. And, unless you’re blind, you can see some of those other rights under attack today.

      1. “protecting us from the government”
        As others have commented in many locations, “Yehh. That Glock will really help against the drones.”

        But anyway – my point isn’t to argue about the 2nd Amendment. My point is that many people are totally freaking out about the gun issue and this theoretical need to protect against the government, while saying nothing or next to nothing about the ACTUAL destruction of many fundamental rights that has been going on for years.

      2. 1. We do not have a democracy to protect, this country is a republic.

        2. GIve me three examples of citizens using guns to protect themselves from the US government that did not end in death or incarceration? When your neighborhood has tanks, tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, you might be able to make this point. The south tried once, it didn’t end well for them.

        3. Tell me how you feel about the ‘drug war’, indefinite detention, targeting American Citizens with Drones, The TSA, warrent-less wiretaps and the patriot act. Or are you too busy cleaning your guns waiting to protect the nation while our right are siphoned away?

  2. For once I totally back Google. This whole privacy issue is one place we need less government intrusion for sure. And the crap that Eric Schmidt once supposedly exclaimed about not being worried if you have nothing to hide is sophomoric at best. Apparently Eric never read history and how private issues (i.e. homosexuality back in the 50′ and 60’s) have been used to ostracize people. This issue needs a lot more exposure and discussion.

    1. Sooo…you’re OK with Google mining your private data and using it to market to you, as well as sell it to the highest corporate bidder to use as they please, but not ok with the FBI having it to catch criminals and terrorists, stop pedophiles and rapists, etc?

      I do understand your perspective, BTW, and don’t necessarily disagree with it in principle, but to be honest I trust Google less than I trust the FBI.

      1. Google cannot lock you up indefinitely, they cannot ‘disappear’ you, they cannot target you with a drone,they cannot harass you and destroy your life.

        The FBI can.

  3. Don’t make me laugh – google caring about ‘its customers information’.

    I say crap to that, google is like a vampire draining customers info to sell to its high paying corporate buddies.

    I think it’s about google not wanting to share its information and to be honest if the FBI want the information there is nothing google can do about it.

    All they have do say is that it’s needed in a case that could risk national security. In that situation the FBI has more power than the President of the US.

    I will never trust google anyway, not after the way they deceived Apple and Steve Jobs.

    1. Yesss. I see the vision now, hang the “whole fetid bunch” as suggested just above — and then put the noble and humanity-loving Nut, First, X and botvjerk as Co-Presidents. What a fine place to live that would be.

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