FBI Forced To Back Down On Secret Info Request To Internet Archive

from the civil-liberties-matter dept

Congress curtailed the FBI’s ability to use National Security Letters (NSLs) a few years ago after it became clear that the FBI was widely abusing the process to request information from organizations with no judicial oversight and with built in gag orders forbidding recipients from talking about receiving the letters. However, the FBI is still using the letters in some cases. Last fall, it sent one to Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive, demanding info on an Archive user while forbidding Kahle from talking about the letter to anyone but his lawyers. Kahle, the EFF and the ACLU fought back in court and have won, getting the FBI to rescind the demand and also removing part of the gag order, allowing Kahle to say he received the letter (though not discussing what info it demanded). As the EFF points out, this should serve as a blueprint for how others can challenge questionable NSLs as well.

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Comments on “FBI Forced To Back Down On Secret Info Request To Internet Archive”

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9 Comments
Jake says:

Oh, For...!

How stupid can a management culture get? You’d think after a couple of decades trying to exorcise the spectre of J. Edgar Hoover that someone might have thought, “We’ve been entrusted with these powers on the understanding that we don’t abuse them, and we’ll really miss ’em if they get taken off of us.” But I guess that kind of thinking doesn’t get you promoted from field work to the office, so a sizeable percentage of the FBI’s credibility and professional reputation goes down the crapper for a load of information that might not even have helped anyway, along with -at least potentially- the ability to build a case in a timely fashion on occasions where an NSL is appropriate.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Oh, For...!

…someone might have thought, “We’ve been entrusted with these powers on the understanding that we don’t abuse them, and we’ll really miss ’em if they get taken off of us.” …a sizeable percentage of the FBI’s credibility and professional reputation goes down the crapper for a load of information that might not even have helped anyway, along with -at least potentially- the ability to build a case in a timely fashion on occasions where an NSL is appropriate.

it’s funny that you think this is about law enforcement. it’s about some fbi types on a power trip. you see it in cops, the military, and government, it makes sense that it happens in the intelligence community as well.

this is about people in positions of power ignoring responsibility and propriety and doing something because they can, not because they should. this is why all power should be limited and those wielding it should always be held accountable.

Anonymous Coward says:

I find people hate the bad habits of others that are characteristic of themselves. We are supreme hypocrites. The hippie culture that I grew up in hated “the man” but they didn’t know the real human beings, they only knew the caricatures of their imagination. They begged the question: if you don’t know the real person, the flesh and blood human beings who do the job, then the only person left for you to use as source material for the caricature is yourself.

Hitler dehumanized. The act of turning a human being into a glove is what enables many rapes, murders, tortures, and the greatest atrocities the human race perpetrates on itself. The cure for that is true understanding, not just the stuff hollywood calls understanding. When you understand a person as they understand themself – perfectly understanding the lies they tell themselves, the locations of their identity, as well as the truth, then you can not help but love that person as they love themselves … at least within the context of that understanding.

So we are talking about a faceless FBI comprised of people we really dont know or understand. Are we making this caricature from the darker substances of our own selves? What about people whose life blood is to protect the freedom of this country who every day go to work at the fbi – do we know them by name? Do we understand them as they understand themselves?

If we are talking in a dehumanized ignorance comprised of the dark tailings of our own souls then why do we have the right to direct it at people we have never met?

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