by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
fbi, nicholas merrill, nsl, patriot act

Very Few Companies Fight Back Against Patriot Act Gag Orders

from the sad-to-hear dept

A few years ago, when we wrote about Nicholas Merrill's successful fight to reveal that his ISP had been gagged by a "national security letter" (NSL) from the FBI, we noted that "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." It appears that was absolutely true.

Wired reports that, in the past few years, since the FBI was told it needed to at least tell companies they could challenge the gag order on NSLs, only four challenges have been issued on over 50,000 NSLs. In two of the four cases, the FBI backed down and let the company notify the individual. As Wired notes, it had asked the FBI the same question a couple months ago, and the FBI claimed (incorrectly) that "there are no stats" and suggested that no one had challenged it other than Merrill.

Remember, NSLs are requests from the government (along with a gag order), but they are not subpoenas nor do they have any real oversight. Yet the FBI gets to issue tens of thousands of them, asking companies for information -- and imposing a strict gag order on them -- and most companies just roll over and do it.

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    Overcast (profile), 15 May 2012 @ 8:16am

    We would expect no less from the King's iron fisted thugs.

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