Lavabit Asks Court To Unseal At Least Some Of Its Case So Others Can Submit Amici Briefs

from the open-court dept

A number of organizations and companies have expressed interest in filing amicus briefs in the lawsuit between Lavabit and the US government, concerning the government's attempt to do something (most likely install some kind of backdoors in Lavabit's "secure" email system), which resulted in Lavabit shutting down. The problem? How do you file an amicus brief when everything is filed under seal and the details are hidden. Given that, Lavabit is now asking the court to at least unseal things partly so that others can file briefs in the case. This is important, because these issues are important from a public interest standpoint. A secret court process, with everything filed under seal, is antithetical to the very basis of our judicial system. Yes, there are times when it makes sense to keep certain things under seal, but the details of this particular case are of tremendous public interest, and hopefully the court will back off from a blanket sealing of just about everything, and allow various public interest groups to weigh in as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    I can see the response now

    Secret Court to Lavabit: We'll unseal our record once you can prove we exist and this trial is really happening, PS: No cheating and using documents Snowden leaked.

     

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

  2.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 2:20pm

    Re:

    Yeah, that's about what I expect will happen as well.

    'We are willing to unseal the records, so that other parties can file amici briefs, if the other parties can demonstrate beforehand that they have a material or financial interest at stake. If they cannot prove that they will be, or have been affected by the (secret) rulings in this case however, the records shall remain sealed.'

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 2:21pm

    The problem with secrecy in court proceeding, lavabit and its lawyer are isolated in fighting the case, as neither can consult external experts or interested parties. It could have been worse, the 'gag' orders could have included speaking to lawyers as breaching the order.

     

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  4.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

    Re:

    It could have been worse, the 'gag' orders could have included speaking to lawyers as breaching the order.


    This is an interesting question. Can any of our lawyer readers comment on this?

    I don't know the law, but I had always assumed that gag orders couldn't prevent you from talking with your own attorney. Your attorney would simply be subject to the same gag order.

     

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

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 2:40pm

    Re:

    I'm not a lawyer, but think of it this way: the entire concept of a secret trial done by a secret court already undermines numerous rules and rights regarding how our court system is supposed to operate anyway. So what's one more violation of that agreement if they're already treating it as toilet paper? I wouldn't be surprised if he already did breach the order by speaking to a lawyer, but they can't think of a good way to punish him.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:36pm

    Hopefully the secret rubber stamp court stops strangling Lavabit and other US companies to death.

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 11:14pm

    Re:

    Nope - they'll just move to a cable strangling instead. Much more efficient, time-and-energy wise.

     

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

  8.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 4:30am

    I think the reasoning for making something secret was just lost somewhere when the Government became too drunk with power. Used 3 meters of toilet paper more than what was predicted in the budget? CLASSIFY IT!

    Meanwhile use the Constitution to replace the toilet paper needs.

     

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

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 5:36am

    as this is going to embarrass both the USG and the security agency (DOJ?) involved. i doubt if the unsealing will happen more than for any other reason than the government doesn't want to be ganged up on, doesn't want it's actions to be broadcast and doesn't want further action taken against it. it matters not that they are, as usual, taking away the right of the people

     

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  10.  
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    Jeff Green (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re:

    Maybe they have punished them already, but kept the punishment secret so the dreadful miscreants don't actually know they should be in gaol ...

     

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

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    Jesus Christ. It's like a fucking Kafka work, only real life.

     

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


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