Truth to Power

FBI smacked down over illegal NSL

Watchdogs prompt FBI to withdraw ‘unconstitutional’ National Security Letter

The FBI has withdrawn an illegal National Security Letter seeking information from an online library and has lifted a gag order that until Wednesday prevented any discussion of the information request.

Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation helped the Internet Archive push back against what they say was an overly broad and unlawful request for information on one of its users. The FBI issued its National Security Letter in November, but ACLU, EFF and Archive officials were precluded from discussing it with anyone because of a gag order they say was unconstitutional.

After nearly five months of haggling, the FBI eventually withdrew its NSL, which requested personal information about at least one user of the Internet Archive. Founded in 1996, the archive is recognized as a library by the state of California, and its collections include billions of Web records, documents, music and movies.</em>

Kudos to the ACLU and the EFF on behalf of the Internet Archive, which if you’ve never visited, is well worth a look.


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