Great news for democracy:
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has withdrawn a secret demand that the Internet Archive, an online library, provide the agency with a user’s personal information after the Web site challenged the records request in court.
The FBI sent a national security letter, or NSL, to the Internet Archive in November and included a gag order barring site founder Brewster Kahle from talking to anyone other than his lawyers about the request. Kahle, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to challenge the subpoena, arguing that the NSL program is unconstitutional, and the FBI withdrew the NSL on April 22.
The settlement between the FBI and the Internet Archive allowed Kahle to break the gag order, a standard part of an NSL request. The Internet Archive’s challenge of the NSL is only the third case that the ACLU is aware of in which an NSL has been challenged in court, said Melissa Goodman an attorney for the civil liberties group’s National Security Project.
“The NSLs basically allow the FBI to demand extremely sensitive personal information about innocent people without any prior court approval, often in total secrecy,” Goodman said Wednesday.
In a news conference, Kahle had this to say:
“We see this as an unqualified success…The goal here was to help other recipients of NSLs … understand that you can push back on these….Gags don’t seem to be necessar. Gagging librarians is horrendous.”
Danny also covers it here.