Stop the Secrecy

The Guardian: Spies, gag orders, and the decline of American privacy

Fri, 10/10/2014 - 16:04 -- Eva Prkachin

This U.S. government agency has been accessing the private information of countless Americans, and the companies that they forced to help them can't even let you know about it.

Article by Trevor Timm for The Guardian

The most consequential civil liberties case in years is being argued before three judges in California on Wednesday, and it has little to do with the NSA but everything to do with taking away your privacy in the name of vague and unsubstantiated “national security” claims.

The landmark case revolves around National Security Letters (NSLs), the pernicious tool for surveillance-on-demand that the FBI has used with reckless abandon since 9/11 – almost completely hidden from public view, even though they’re used to view the public’s private information. To wit, NSLs allow the FBI to demand all sorts of your stuff from internet, telephone, banking and credit-card companies without any prior sign-off from a judge or their unwitting customers. Worse, companies are served a gag order, making it illegal for them not only to tell you which of your info is being pulled – but to tell the public they’ve received such a request at all.

Which is why the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is in court on Wednesday, why Twitter is now suing the US government, and the reason that anyone who cares about his or her privacy should be just as aware of the three letters “NSL” as everyone has no doubt already become with the acronym NSA.

- Read more at The Guardian