Court Orders Google To Comply With National Security Letters, But Suggests It Might Want To Ask Again

You may recall that back in April it was revealed that Google was fighting back against complying with a series of National Security Letters (NSLs), the notorious tool of law enforcement to snoop on people secretly, which has been abused widely. Google’s decision to push back on these NSLs came following a ruling by the same judge, Susan Illston, who had ruled NSLs unconstitutional. Given that ruling, it appeared that Google hoped to get the judge to say that it didn’t need to comply with 19 NSLs it had received.

Instead, Judge Illston has told Google it must comply — following secret affidavits from FBI officials. However, it appears that Judge Illston may think that Google just asked in the wrong way, and might be more willing to kill the NSLs if Google presented more specifics about the NSLs in question, rather than asking to broadly ignore NSLs in general:

It wasn’t a complete win for the Justice Department, however: Illston all but invited Google to try again, stressing that the company has only raised broad arguments, not ones “specific to the 19 NSLs at issue.” She also reserved judgment on two of the 19 NSLs, saying she wanted the government to “provide further information” prior to making a decision.

Given that, I would imagine this is nowhere near over.

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