When the US government demanded the IP address of every visitor to Indymedia's website (and ordered Indymedia to keep the request secret), Indymedia called the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF fought the subpoena -- which was grossly unconstitutional -- and won. Here's the story of how it happened, and remember, if you ever get a crazy, unconstitutional request from a G-man, stop and call a lawyer or get in touch with EFF.
From EFF's Secret Files: Anatomy of a Bogus Subpoena
The government added insult to injury by also inserting this language on the first page of the subpoena: "You are not to disclose the existence of this request unless authorized by the Assistant U.S. Attorney. Any such disclosure would impede the investigation being conducted and thereby interfere with the enforcement of the law."
The problem? The law doesn't require the recipient of a federal grand jury subpoena to keep the subpoena secret (which is why, typically, subpoenas often will "request" -- but not require -- a recipient's silence). There are certainly secrecy requirements for participants in the grand jury -- such as the jurors and the prosecutors -- but those requirements do not extend to witnesses (or potential witnesses such as a subpoena recipient). And although the SCA does provide the government with the option of obtaining a court order under 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b) requiring silence when the recipient's disclosure would have an adverse affect on an investigation, the government in this case did not obtain any such gag order.
In sum, without any legal authority to back up their purported gag demand, the government ordered Ms. Clair not to reveal the existence of the subpoena, a subpoena that as already described was patently overbroad and invalid under the SCA. This is exactly the kind of unjustified demand of silence that creates a fog around the government's often-overreaching surveillance activities. How many other subpoena recipients have remained silent over the years in response to such bogus demands, and how many of them violated their users' privacy by handing over data that the government wasn't entitled to? We simply do not know, and because of a lack of meaningful reporting about the government's use of the SCA, we cannot know.
We were determined that our client would not be one of the silenced, and that this illegal subpoena would eventually see the light of day.
This amazingly handy website pretty much holds your digital hand through the process of calling your representatives. Take five minutes, call your reps. 5 Calls
Disney today released two new clips and a new little featurette from the studio’s upcoming live action film “The Jungle Book.” I’m also loving the stunning poster art for the new film by Vincent Aseo, shown above in detail and below in full.
Evan from Fight for the Future writes, “Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is trying to use a Congressional loophole to push through two attacks on our Internet freedom in the ‘omnibus’ must-pass budget bill that Congress is expected to file tonight. He wants to include the final version of CISA which has been completely […]
If you don’t want to get stuck footing the bill for a hit and run, this dashboard-mounted camera offers up to 2K resolution to make sure you always have a reliable witness, and it’s available in the Boing Boing Store for 30% off it’s usual price.The PapaGo mounts unobtrusively to your windshield to see everything […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]