ISP Owner Finally Able To Admit That He Stood Up To The FBI Over Questionable Data Request

from the only-six-years-later dept

We've noted, repeatedly, that the feds have been caught abusing National Security Letters (NSLs) to try to get information they had no legal right to get. Because these NSLs usually contained an immediate gag order and no judicial review, basically the FBI could request whatever it wanted, and no one would review it and people couldn't speak out against it. So it was great to hear, about three years ago, that one ISP owner recipient of such an NSL was anonymously fighting back, specifically about the required gag order. We were disappointed last year, when a judge refused to drop the gag order, even if the actual request had been dropped by the feds.

However, six years after first receiving the NSL, Nicholas Merrill, the head of Calyx Internet Access is finally able to admit that he's the guy who's been fighting this legal battle. Prior to this, he'd even kept it secret from his fiancee, family and friends -- even when they happened to bring up the case in casual conversation. Of course, this doesn't change that it happened, and even if we keep being told that the feds have been ordered to stop abusing these processes, there's little to no evidence that anything is really being done. For every Nicholas Merrill, you can bet that thousands of others just gave in and didn't put up a fight -- even if the requests were bogus.

There is a clear legal process for obtaining information, involving warrants and judicial oversight. I have no problem with attempts to get information through such means. But when law enforcement routes around those oversight channels, and then tries to gag people from even talking about it, there's a serious problem.

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  • identicon
    abc gum, 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:03pm

    The first rule of gag order club is you do not talk about gag order club

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

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:14pm

    I have to commend the man. He's seriously the little guy that fought a huge bureaucracy and won. How he could do that and keep it secret is truly commendable.

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

  • icon
    rw (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:41pm

    This is just one example of how close to a police state we really are.

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

    • icon
      BuzzCoastin (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 8:32pm

      Re: close to a police state

      Dude,the US is not "close to a police state" its there; just try to use the Bill of Rights, go ahead punk, make my day.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:45pm

    at least someone is fighting the good fight

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

  • identicon
    BillDivX, 10 Aug 2010 @ 6:48pm

    Ummm...

    "The first rule of gag order club is you do not talk about gag order club"

    I do not think that sounds like what you think it sounds like.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:04pm

    How do you fight a court case without being able to identify yourself as the plaintiff? Is it illegal to say, "hello, your honor, my name is so and so"? Was this case conducted in empty courtrooms? Was he wearing a ski mask while presenting his case?

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

  • icon
    interval (profile), 10 Aug 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Yay.

    What can one say but "huzzah" for this isp?

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

    • identicon
      Valkor, 11 Aug 2010 @ 5:46am

      Re: Yay.

      This man is a hero. He needs a bronze statue of himself erected in a park somewhere. Maybe they could put it next to that stupid bean in Chicago so people would have something worth photographing.

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

  • identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, 11 Aug 2010 @ 7:17am

    no in soviet russia

    they dont beat you with a club
    they dont use nsls
    they dont in fact do this
    the usa is becoming far worse then russia and usa's abuses run all over the world

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

  • icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 11 Aug 2010 @ 7:58am

    What worries me most about this ...

    Historically every country that has gotten to this level of spying, protecting entrenched players, and attempting to control its citizens has failed. It really doesn't bode well for the US government.

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

  • identicon
    aikiwolfie, 11 Aug 2010 @ 8:32am

    It's reading posts like this that make me glad I don't live in America. The land of the "free"?

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

    • identicon
      John, 11 Aug 2010 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      Don't fool yourself, whereever you live it is not much different. America, in many ways, is still the shining light of Freedom. Once we ban the death penalty and take care of each and every one of our citizens' health needs, we will, again, be on top in every way.

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

  • identicon
    John, 11 Aug 2010 @ 9:10am

    Way to go

    If I could meet this guy I would shake his hand. He is a shining light for freedom and justice. Our Founders put together a pretty good plan to keep us free. We must be forever vigilant for those whom try to circumvent our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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

  • identicon
    John, 11 Aug 2010 @ 9:14am

    Don't fool yourself, whereever you live it is not much different. America, in many ways, is still the shining light of Freedom. Once we ban the death penalty and take care of each and every one of our citizens' health needs, we will, again, be on top in every way.

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

  • identicon
    Steve, 11 Aug 2010 @ 10:41am

    Demcracy Now

    I saw his interview on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, this morning. If you think this is National Security wait until Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act gets passed by Congress.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Aug 2010 @ 6:30pm

    Can I sign up with his company?

    I'd like to support this guy by signing on with his business but I can't find a site for Calyx Internet Access. What I have found makes it look like they're New York based. I wonder if they provide service in Denver?

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

  • identicon
    Moe, 15 May 2012 @ 7:48am

    I am glad that there are companies that are standing up to the government. I would imagine that it would be really hard to do because the consequences could be very severe. Things are definitely heating up between the government and businesses right now.

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

  • identicon
    Donn C. Irving, 24 Jul 2012 @ 12:11am

    FBI's sticking it's investigative nose into people's private business.

    Anytime the FBI wants to sick their nose in my private business, it might be interesting to broadcast theirs in public.

    DCI

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

  • identicon
    Donn C. Irving, 24 Jul 2012 @ 12:11am

    FBI's sticking it's investigative nose into people's private business.

    Anytime the FBI wants to sick their nose in my private business, it might be interesting to broadcast theirs in public.

    DCI

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


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