Since I can’t really add much more to this story than the thoughts expressed below, I thought I would post it here to help spread the word. This authoritarian conservative government is dangerous to the survival of this country. I just hope it’s not to late.
“The Internet Archive was served a National Security Letter by the FBI demanding information about a patron of the Archive. The Archive fought it with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU. We won. ““This win was one of three challenges to the NSL’s: all three have been rescinded. The ACLU added, 'That makes you wonder about the hundreds of thousands of NSL’s that haven't been challenged.'"
“According to the Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, “We can now talk about it, and what it is like to get a secret demand. We hope that this will be useful for the others that will receive these powerful demands. The free flow of information is at the heart of every library's work. That's why Congress passed a law limiting the FBI's power to issue NSLs to America's libraries. While it's never easy standing up to the government -- particularly when I was barred from discussing it with anyone -- I knew I had to challenge something that was clearly wrong. I'm grateful that I am able now to talk about what happened to me, so that other libraries can learn how they can fight back from these overreaching demands."
“The NSL was served on the Archive -- a digital library recognized by the state of California -- and its attorneys in November of 2007. The letter asked for personal information about one of the Archive's users, including the individuals name, address, and any electronic communication transactional records pertaining to the user. (They) decided to fight the NSL because it exceeded the FBI's limited authority to issue such demands to libraries. The Archive responded to the letter by handing over only publicly available documents and simultaneously filing a lawsuit challenging the letter. This lawsuit is the first known challenge to an NSL served on a library since Congress amended the national security letter provision in 2006 to limit the FBI's power to demand records from libraries.”
“Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU. "It appears that every time a national security letter recipient has challenged an NSL in court and forced the government to justify it, the government has ultimately withdrawn its demand for records. In the absence of much needed judicial oversight – and with recipients silenced and the public in the dark – there is nothing to stop the FBI from abusing its NSL power.”
“EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann wondered, "The big question is, how many other improper NSLs have been issued by the FBI and never challenged?"
“The ACLU has challenged this Patriot Act statute in federal court in two other cases where the judges found the gags unconstitutional: one involving an Internet Service Provider (ISP); the second a group of librarians. In the ISP case, the district court invalidated the entire NSL statute.”
“Last year Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced H.R. 3189, the "National Security Letters Reform Act of 2007." Senator Russell Feingold (D-WI) introduced a Senate bill of the same name (S. 2088). Both bills are aimed at narrowing the statute by enacting limits on when and how NSLs can be used and bringing the gag order provision in line with the Constitution.”
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