Finally Revealed: Feds Sought Info From Google & Sonic.net About Wikileaks Helpers

from the of-course dept

At the beginning of this year, we gave Twitter kudos for not rolling over when the government came calling with a so-called 2703(d) order (like a search warrant, but with much fewer protections for privacy) related to information concerning people associated with Wikileaks. We also wondered who else had received such an order and had not stood up to it. Some of the info is starting to come out, and it appears that both Google and ISP Sonic.net received such requests, at least concerning Jacob Appelbaum. Sonic.net notes that it, too, fought the request, but lost. It then fought to have the request made public, which finally happened, though some details are still under seal:
Sonic said it fought the government's order and lost, and was forced to turn over information. Challenging the order was "rather expensive, but we felt it was the right thing to do," said Sonic's chief executive, Dane Jasper. The government's request included the e-mail addresses of people Mr. Appelbaum corresponded with the past two years, but not the full e-mails...
It's unclear if Google similarly fought the order. The company says it won't comment on specific cases. It's nice to see that Sonic was willing to fight for its users (which continues to cement the company's reputation as being one of the few user-first ISPs). It still remains likely that the government sent these orders to many others as well. In the case of Twitter there were multiple people being investigated, not just Appelbaum, though it's unlikely most of those others used Sonic.net. So chances are, other ISPs and other service providers received the orders, and whether or not they fought the government may never be known. In the meantime, the government continues its fishing expedition against Wikileaks, but apparently still hasn't found a smoking gun.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 8:18pm

    Dear Washington "Leaders",
    Rather than continuing to waste time, resources and effort trying to punish people for revealing what we all already knew, do you think you could maybe put that much zealous effort into fixing the country?

    We all suspected that you were doing things that violated the spirit of the law, and were shilling for your corporate benefactors. We turned a blind eye to you trying to export "Democracy" while refusing to admit that you do the exact same things you call dictators out for doing. We understand the money is a powerful thing that you seem to be unable to resist, so you try to force the world to be the utopian copyright is king world.

    Your pursuit in this farce has gone on far to long. How many bankers have you investigated for the subprime meltdown? How many more ponzi scheme have one unnoticed, even when your own staff point them out? How many more times do we have to recall food because you refuse to pass real reform? How much time is wasted trying to punish whistle blowers pointing out your wasting billions of dollars on projects from former congressmen turned lobbyist?

    I guess what I am saying here is, we are tired of this crap. You wrap yourself up in righteous fervor of they betrayed the country, but in truth the betrayal of the American people and American beliefs by all of you dwarfs anything these people might have done.

    If you stop doing and trying to hide questionable things, nothing leaked ever again can hurt you. That seems to be a much better goal than conducting a witch hunt harassing citizens at the border, trying to get emails, using secret methods to secretly get intel so you can get even.

    The Emperor is naked, we all know this. Now stop acting like spoiled brats, give up the temper tantrum, and get back to the business of running the country instead of your damn mouths.

    K Thks Bai...
    TAC

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    While I know that ordering the e-mails themselves would probably stomp on peoples Fourth Amendment rights, I find it interesting that (since they're stomping on peoples rights and privacy anyway) that they're interested in who's talking to who and not interested in whether or not there actually is any criminal activity going on, which the texts of the e-mails would show. But this is sadly consistent with the feds and with US law enforcement as a whole: assume criminal activity and search for evidence that supports that position only.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    DOlz (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Re:

    This should have been a main article instead of just a comment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 8:37pm

    TRACKING IS CONTROL, conspiracy-deniers.

    Wikileaks, whether it's an intelligence psy-op itself or not, is convenient to use for establishing this as future normal. Google is far too USEFUL to intelligence agencies for it to NOT be used the obvious ways. -- And the only assurance we have that Google won't be used for evil is... well, what? Some PR efforts that purport to show good intentions? They provide "free" search so you think it's doing you a favor?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Jay (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 8:51pm

    Good time for privacy.

    Now is a good time to promote the Torrentfreak story about how to protect your privacy.

    Link

    Take this with a grain of salt. Some of these that look good on the service haven't been busted nor had the pressure cooker put onto them quite yet.

    So look for a VPN that provides you service without keeping logs and you should be fine.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 10th, 2011 @ 9:21pm

    Yeah it is

    It's unclear if Google similarly fought the order. The company says it won't comment on specific cases.

    That's pretty clear in my book.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 9:59pm

    Re: Yeah it is

    apparently Google was pressing for something they have a fairly good track record for at least making sure warrants/strange government orders pass a smell test before they comply. I think that information should be available with a warrant that is requested by the executive branch and checked for compliance to citizens rights by the judicial branch. unfortunately the Judicial branch seems to be rubber stamping anything that they can reach so I guess at least we have some companies that seem to be doing their jobs for them

    http://boingboing.net/2011/10/09/secret-us-court-order-demands-email-data-for-wikileaks-volu nteer-jacob-appelbaum.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 10:14pm

    Part Of The Press

    Since Wikileaks has been heavily used by major newspapers as a source of informaton, then Wikileaks should be regarded as part of the press. First amendment anyone?

    All "crimes" committed by Wikileaks supporters are only criminal under laws which would not stand up to first amendment scrutiny. Um, don't various high officials in the US government very publicly swear to uphold the US Constitution? How are they going with the upholding?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 10th, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Google is evil.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:28am

    Re: Good time for privacy.

    With all due respect if you use a VPN or any other system that depends on the faith that other are not doing anything to harm you, you probably deserve ALL THE PAIN YOU WILL GET at the end of that rainbow.

    Use some network overlay that is anonymous and encrypted that are many out there, but for fraks sake don't use EVER a VPN!

    Look in the "Anonymizing Network Layer" section.
    http://www.anonymous-p2p.org/programs.html

    TOR, freenet, Psiphon and I2P are your best bets, don't use JAP it was compromised once it can be again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 12:44am

    Re: Part Of The Press

    Maybe someday somebody will Pinochet Dick Cheney or Bush Jr. for what they did LoL

    www.cnn.com/2011/09/23/opinion/dorfman-cheney-torture/index.html

    But I have no great hopes on that.

    That guy along with the Obama administration are the ones that are making their best to extinguish any semblance of democracy in America today.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2011 @ 3:17am

    Re:

    I think Google is more of a Benevolent dictator myself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Chargone (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:53am

    Re: Part Of The Press

    actually, given what 'the press' means as it appears in the US constitution, if memory serves, and depending on how literal you want to be, it either means only things that are actually printed by way of a printing press (but covers Anything that meets that requirement) or pretty much the entire internet, or at least the web, should be covered by it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Chargone (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 4:54am

    Re:

    *thinks* nah, wouldn't rate google as evil.

    that said, they don't automatically get a check mark in the 'good' box either.

    i'm going with neutral with less of an obsession with Order than most such massive entities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    The eejit (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re:

    Google is clearly a True Neutral Wizard...for now. Any crazy spells, though, and watch out!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 11th, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re:

    from time to time the stream of consciousness that issues forth from my addled brain resonates quite well.

    Once upon a time I believed the Government was our freind, even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. One day the scale finally tipped, and I was no longer willing to accept the "official" version of things.

    Teh interwebs helped me look beyond what the talking heads were telling me, and find the other points of view of the story. The trick is being able to find "our side", their side, and then sift out the clues that lead to the truth in the middle.

    Wikileaks is the new Terrorism card. Everything bad that happens is somehow always tied to Wikileaks. I see an "attack" done under the banner of Anonymous against injustice, and always a soundbite worthy mention of... they are the defenders of Wikileaks. Let us just ignore that Anon turned its sights on Wikileaks at one point.
    There is a calculated storyline being played out and it is leading to the idea that "those" people on the internets are out to get you personally, and when people are in fear they swallow things like the TSA and Patriot Act. They buy into the promise that they will never use these things against you because your a good person. They take out the vocal, the sloppy, and when the people who tried to warn you are all gone... they turn their gaze upon you.

    The Government has declared war upon its people at the behest of their corporate sponsors, its not a conventional war... they seek to keep the masses uneducated, unaware, mindlessly toiling to create more debt as they get the toys that show others they are better than them. The simple truth is, we are all drowning for the entertainment of the rich. What could be more fun than watching the dogs tear themselves apart to be top dog... you will always still be a dog in a cage... the escape is a lie. Maybe if we tried supporting each other rather than trying to hold someone down to keep ourselves elevated we could change the world.

    But I'm just an Anonymous, Freetard, Pirate... why listen to me?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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