Friday, September 07, 2007

Judge Voids F.B.I. Tool Granted by Patriot Act
A federal judge yesterday struck down the parts of the recently revised USA Patriot Act that authorized the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use informal secret demands called national security letters to compel companies to provide customer records.


According to a report from the Justice Department’s inspector general in March, the F.B.I. issued about 143,000 requests through national security letters from 2003 to 2005. The report found that the bureau had often used the letters improperly and sometimes illegally.


The judge said the F.B.I. might be entitled to prohibit disclosures for a limited time but afterward “must bear the burden of going to court to suppress the speech.” Putting that burden on recipients of the letters, he said, violates the First Amendment.

I wish I knew why this took so long. There were reports in 2005 about a library in Connecticut that fought one of these letters.

But don't let it worry you - if you're not doing anything wrong, etc. As long as it happens to someone else, we're all good.