Friday, March 15, 2013

A Blow For The Constitution

National Security Letter Gag Orders Struck Down As Unconstitutional
Concluding that they suffer from "significant constitutional infirmities," a federal district court judge in San Francisco on Thursday struck down sections of federal law that allow the FBI to warrantlessly obtain private information under a gag order in the name of national security.

But U.S. District Judge Susan Illston temporarily put her order on hold to allow the government to appeal her decision, recognizing that a higher court should first be able to "consider the weighty questions of national security and First Amendment rights" at issue in the case. The authority of national security letters, government orders to communications providers to reveal user information, was vastly expanded in the post-9/11 Patriot Act. The federal government has made wide use of them in the name of the fight against terrorism...

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