Thursday, May 08, 2008

Internet Archive challenge FBI national security letter

Michael Geist points me to another important story in the US: the Internet Archive challenged the FBI's serving of a national security letter late last year and the FBI has now withdrawn the request for a patron's details.
"The FBI presented the San Francisco-based Internet Archive with a national security letter in November asking for a library patron's records. The group sued the agency a month later, alleging the letter violated free speech rights because they prohibit recipients from talking to anyone else about them.

The Internet Archive said today the FBI agreed to withdraw the letter last week and make the case, which was filed under seal, public. Sections of the now public lawsuit and supporting documents detailing what and who the FBI were looking into were blacked out.

National security letters are investigative tools used to compel businesses to turn over customer information without a judge's order or grand jury subpoena. They are most typically served on Internet service providers and telephone companies demanding billing records, subscriber information and other electronic communication transactional records.

The companies receiving the letters are barred from telling customers who are the targets of the FBI demands."

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