by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 7th 2008 8:33pm
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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