The Electronic Frontier Foundation has disclosed that it has won two key victories for clients who'd received the FBI's notorious, gag-ordered National Security Letters -- a form of secret warrant that has become the go-to way for law enforcement to avoid scrutiny since the Patriot Act's passage.
One of EFF's clients was the Internet Archive from whom the FBI was seeking information that Archive didn't have (something that should have been obvious before the warrant was issued), and which was accompanied by misleading information about how and whether the Archive could challenge it.
The other client was CREDO, a community oriented mobile carrier, who fought its NSL for three years with EFF's help.
“The opaque NSL process—including the lack of oversight by a court—makes it very vulnerable to errors of law. Add to that the routine use of gags and enforced secrecy, and those errors become difficult to find and correct,” said EFF Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker. “We are grateful to the Internet Archive for standing up to the FBI and shining some light on this error. We hope that others who receive the correction will also step forward to have their gags lifted and shine more light on these unconstitutional data collection tools.”
This is the second NSL that the Internet Archive has published after battling with the FBI. In 2007, the Archive received an NSL that exceeded the FBI’s authority to issue demands to libraries. With help from EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the FBI withdrew the letter and agreed to let the Archive go public in May of 2008.
Fighting NSL Gag Orders, With Help From Our Friends at CREDO and Internet Archive [Andrew Crocker and Karen Gullo/EFF]
Internet Archive Received National Security Letter with FBI Misinformation about Challenging Gag Order [EFF]
INTERNET ARCHIVE SUCCESSFULLY FENDS OFF SECRET FBI ORDER [Kim Zetter/The Intercept]
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