An unconstitutional attack on privacy has been smacked in the kneecaps
This week the EFF's legal fight against the federal government's National Security Letters has seen a spot of success: a federal district court judge has ruled that the federal government's use of National Security Letters are unconstitutional, in that the gag order provisions violate the First Amendment, and that the review procedures violate separation of powers.
"The controversial NSL provisions EFF challenged on behalf of the unnamed client allow the FBI to issue administrative letters -- on its own authority and without court approval -- to telecommunications companies demanding information about their customers. The controversial provisions also permit the FBI to permanently gag service providers from revealing anything about the NSLs, including the fact that a demand was made, which prevents providers from notifying either their customers or the public. The limited judicial review provisions essentially write the courts out of the process." -- EFF
Outside of the EFF site itself, I haven't seen a heck of a lot of buzz about this, which is odd to me. This should be something that starts the hour of network news and is in big, bold typeface at the top of newspapers. It is essentially calling bluff on the U.S. government's claim that it can spy on whomever it wants and that companies must both go along with it and keep quiet about it.
This has the potential to give back huge control to telecommunications companies and citizens, but there's not much more than a peep about it, which leads me to believe that there's more to it when it comes to telecom giants, and that their may be some profitable benefit from such arrangements. The government has pretty much given telecom industry in the U.S. carte blanche when it comes to collecting and keeping user information. Much more than in the EU. It also has the ability to put telecom companies in a tight spot should they have the choice to reveal specifics about these requests, in that more and more consumer advocates will be demanding it, while law enforcement will be pressuring for the opposite.
In this court case, it seems the company that EFF was supporting does want to come out, but I wonder if that's the consensus of the bulk of them, or if this one is a big player or a smaller one. Does this matter to people, or has everyone simply absorbed surveillance as a foregone conclusion?