Feds Gagged Google Over Wikileaks Warrants Because They Were 'Upset By The Backlash' To Similar Twitter Warrants

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about how the feds got a warrant demanding all email and other information about three Wikileaks-associated reporters. While the warrants issued in 2012, Wikileaks only found out about it a few weeks ago when Google told them, saying that an earlier gag order had been partially lifted. Wikileaks lashed out at Google for not letting them know earlier. However, in response, Google has noted that it fought the request and that it was gagged from saying anything until now.
Google says it challenged the secrecy from the beginning and was able to alert the customers only after the gag orders on those warrants were partly lifted, said Gidari, a partner at Perkins Coie.

“From January 2011 to the present, Google has continued to fight to lift the gag orders on any legal process it has received on WikiLeaks,” he said, adding that the firm’s policy is to challenge all gag orders that have indefinite time periods.
But, much more interesting was a separate point made by the lawyer, Albert Gidari, over why the feds demanded the gag order:
According to Gidari, whose firm has represented both firms, Google’s delay was not the result of foot-dragging but of opposition from prosecutors who were upset by the backlash that followed the disclosure of their court orders to Twitter.

[....]

“The U.S. attorney’s office thought the notice and the resulting publicity was a disaster for them,” Gidari said. “They were very upset” about the prosecutor’s name and phone number being disclosed, he said. “They went through the roof.”
Gidari also claims that "Google litigated up and down through the courts trying to get the orders modified so that notice could be given."

If you don't recall, the feds attempt to get information from Twitter made headlines back in 2011 for trying to get access to Icelandic politician (and Wikileaks supporter) Birgitta Jonsdottir's account.

If it's true that this was truly the reason for the gag order, that is equal parts ridiculous, pathetic and dangerous. There are legitimate reasons for limited gag orders in specific cases at specific times. But a general, unending, broad gag order "because we don't like the backlash" is not one of them. At all. But that's what you get when there's no real oversight or pushback to the surveillance state.

Filed Under: backlash, free speech, gag order, surveillance, warrants
Companies: google, twitter, wikileaks


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  1. identicon
    RF, 29 Jan 2015 @ 12:26pm

    wifi banned in schools

    You mention in your post that there is absolutely no evidence to support concerns about wifi and EFT's harming people. Perhaps you should do a little more homework...or buy yourself a meter that measures such things and walk around your house.

    For a start, try Dr. Magda Havas' website: http://www.magdahavas.com/ at Trent University. She's been studying/researching the field of electromagnetics for years! In the late 1980's ago I went to a lecture at the College of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, where a British physician was lecturing on electromagnetic pollution and its effect on human energy fields...with lots of supporting evidence.

    And how about the Resolution that was approved by members of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (RNCNIRP) at its Committee session on 3 March 2011. "The Resolution evolved from scientific statements adopted by RNCNIRP in 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009, taking into account contemporary views and actual
    scientific data. The Resolution represents a viewpoint of the professional scientific community and is meant for public dissemination, for the consumers of the mobile
    telecommunications services, as well as for the legislative and executive authorities who develop and implement health protection, environmental, communication, scientific
    and safety policies." Check out: http://www.magdahavas.com/international-experts-perspective-on-the-health-effects-of-electromagnetic -fields-emf-and-electromagnetic-radiation-emr/ for a few more scientific bodies studying this subject...but then perhaps you already know that these guys are all quacks, eh!

    Or try http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/3/12/e003836.full The British Medical Journal's cross-sectional study on GSM radiation from mobile phone base stations.

    Or try reading THE BODY ELECTRIC or CROSS CURRENTS by Robert O Becker, MD; or ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS by Blake Levitt; or THE GREAT POWER-LINE COVER-UP by Paul Brodeur; or CELL PHONES: INVISIBLE HAZARDS IN THE WIRELESS WORLD by Dr. George Carlo.

    No evidence, eh?

    Children's skulls are thinner than adults, leaving them more suceptible to radiation of any sort. The computer industry cleaned up its act in terms of screens and computers, perhaps its time the wifi industry did it's due diligence as well... Actually, the modern car is just as bad, with very high levels of EMF's around the legs and feet.

    My sense is that the profit motive and laziness, which seems to accompany those who are 'attached' to their devices is part of the issue rather than our well being.

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