Friday, April 30, 2004

secret ACLU lawsuit agaisnt the FBI re Patriot Act provisions revealed

The ACLU recently released the fact that they are involved in a secret lawsuit against the FBI challenging their ability to secretly subeona ISP's for records about users. The FBI obtained this ability with the passing of the Patriot Act. They may now obtin record without judicial oversight, and keep anyone from talking about it. Another related power, that I will not address, is the sneak and peek provision of the Patriot Act, which actually allows the FBI to conduct physical searches without notifying the owner of the property until much later. Kinda sounds like a due process problem because there's no judicial oversight.

The FBI can issue national security letters, or NSLs, without a judge's approval in terrorism and espionage cases. They require telephone companies, Internet service providers, banks, credit bureaus and other businesses to produce highly personal records about their customers or subscribers.

People who receive the letters are prohibited by law from disclosing to anyone that they did so. Because of this legal gag order, the ACLU was forced to reach an agreement with the Justice Department before a heavily edited version of the lawsuit could be unsealed.

The ACLU couldn't even disclose the existence of the lawsuit until now. That is disturbing.

Via The Washington Post.


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