Google, Without Admitting It Gets FISA Orders, Files Lawsuit To Challenge FISA Gag Orders
from the well-that-ought-to-be-interesting dept
Now, Google has filed a lawsuit against the government, arguing that gag orders on FISA requests violate the First Amendment. The filing itself is an interesting read, in part for its first footnote:
Nothing in this Motion is intended to confirm or deny that Google has received any order or orders issued by this Court.Of course, that might lead some to suggest that Google can't actually have standing, but there's an interesting legal argument here. Basically, Google is arguing that the perception that it's opened up its network to the NSA, as suggested in various reports, and which it cannot refute fully without revealing some details of FISA orders it has received, has caused it harm.
Google's reputation and business has been harmed by the false or misleading reports in the media, and Google's users are concerned by the allegations. Google must respond to such claims with more than generalities. Moreover, these are matters of significant weight and importance, and transparency is critical to advancing public debate in a thoughtful and democratic manner.Given that, Google is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that it has a First Amendment right to publish the total number of FISA requests it receives and the total number of users associated with those requests, though obviously not anything more. I'm sure the government will come back with all sorts of excuses as to why this is horrible, but it certainly presents an interesting legal challenge to the FISA court's gag orders.