Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

April 4, 2013

Google fights national security probe demand for user data

SAN FRANCISCO — Google is challenging a demand by the U.S. government for private user information in a national security probe, according to a court filing.

It "appears" to be the first time a major communications company is pushing back after getting a so-called National Security Letter, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet privacy group.

The challenge from the operator of the world's largest search engine comes three weeks after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that NSLs, which are issued without a warrant, are unconstitutional.

"The people who are in the best position to challenge the practice are people like Google," said EFF attorney Matt Zimmerman, who represented an unidentified service provider that won the March 14 ruling. "So far no one has really stood up for their users" among large Internet service providers.

The government has issued 300,000 NSLs since 2000, and only four or five recipients have challenged the letters, Zimmerman said. Civil-rights groups say NSLs give federal agents unchecked powers to spy on people while the government says they're a crucial tool in the fight against terrorism and threats to national security.

Google, in its first public disclosure about national security letters, said in a March 5 report that it received in the range of zero to 999 NSLs annually starting in 2009 affecting more than 1,000 accounts. In a company blog post, Richard Salgado, Google's legal director for law enforcement and information security, thanked U.S. government officials "for working with us to provide greater insight into the use of NSLs."

Google filed a petition to set aside a "legal process" pursuant "to 18 U.S.C. Section 3511 (a) and (b)," according to a March 29 filing in federal court in San Francisco seeking a court order to seal its request. Petitions "filed under Section 3511 of Title 18 to set aside legal process issued under Section 2709 of Title 18 must be filed under seal because Section 2709 prohibits disclosure of the legal process," Kevan Fornasero, Google's lawyer, said in the filing.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks